In a no-holds-barred interview, rugby legend Sonny Bill Williams didn’t mince words when expressing his disbelief and disdain for Eddie Jones’ secret meeting with Japanese officials before the Rugby World Cup.
Williams, a two-time Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand, launched a scathing attack on the former Wallabies coach, questioning his character and labelling his actions as “comical”.
“Obviously, he had that meeting,” Williams told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It says a lot about his character, to be honest. It’s comical. I still can’t believe it.
“I saw straight through his antics and his big-talking. This is a bloke who has a track record of burning bridges.
“The things that he’s done … if he was a player, you wouldn’t stand for it. It’s quite nice that they are being held accountable, just like players are.”
He commended Rugby Australia for its swift decision to remove chairman Hamish McLennan and emphasised the need to put egos aside.
“I called it before the World Cup with Eddie … that it wasn’t the right thing and it backfired tremendously. Egos need to be left at the door. The public deserves better and so do these players.
“A lot of people forgot about Dave Rennie’s leadership. Australia beat South Africa twice and came close to New Zealand.”
Williams was stunned by reports that Jones had taken part in a Zoom interview for the vacant Japan head coaching role just before the World Cup. Jones ultimately resigned last month, less than 10 months into a five-year deal. He has since said he is interested in the Japan job.
McLennan, who was ousted as Rugby Australia chairman on Sunday, believed Jones’ promises at the time that he had not been interviewed.
Williams also expressed his dismay at Jones’ departing comments that Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper were not picked for the World Cup because they were not the right models for the team.
“I found those comments disgusting. The sad thing was that he couldn’t just leave with dignity. He had to leave with some firing shots by calling Hooper, Foley and Quade not role model material. What does that make him?”
Williams sees the controversy as an opportunity for a reset in Australian rugby. Advocating for transparency and centralisation under Rugby Australia, he voiced support for Phil Waugh’s strategies, especially those focusing on Western Sydney. Williams believes that, with the talent Australia possesses, a positive turnaround is possible.
“Transparency is key. With the talent Australia has, something special could happen. I love the idea of bringing everything under the one umbrella from Rugby Australia [via centralisation]. The only way is up.”2023-11-21T04:20:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd