Rugby Australia to push for Netflix series as Eddie Jones’ return sparks interest ahead of World Cup, Bledisloe Cup, Dave Rennie
Just days after Warren Gatland raised concerns about Netflix’s upcoming Six Nations documentary, Rugby Australia is working towards getting off the ground their own fly on the wall documentary series on the Wallabies.
It can be revealed that RA is extremely interested in filming their own series on the Wallabies, which would showcase the return of Eddie Jones to the national head coaching role 18 years after being sacked in 2005.
It is believed RA has already sounded out their broadcaster Stan, who is supportive of the idea.
The idea is not a new one.
RA pitched the idea to the Wallabies’ coaching set-up previously, but sources told The Roar that former coach Dave Rennie did not want any cameras in the dressing room.
Now, with a new coach, the momentum has begun to get the idea off the ground.
Sources believe Jones will be more receptive to the idea.
Gatland, who recently returned as Wales coach after three years, recently raised concerns about Netflix’s upcoming Six Nations documentary, with the streaming company to follow the lead of others in going into the dressingrooms. Amazon’s The Test laid bare the testy relationship between former Australia cricket coach Justin Langer and senior players while other examples of the sports doco genre include such F1’s Drive to Survive, tennis’ Break Point and Amazon’s All or Nothing focused on the premier League.
“Sometimes you say something that is a little bit out of kilter when you’re trying to get the best out of players, or they’re trying to get the best out of each other,” Gatland said.
“Some of the things that get said in the changing room might not be stuff that you actually always believe, but it’s part of getting the best out of your performance. And then afterwards you’re all friends and mates again.
“So there’s a few things that we need to be conscious of, and iron out. The last thing we need is to be bland in the way it comes across but I’m also conscious that we need to protect ourselves, too. That’s pretty important.”
He added: “In the past when we’ve had the crews that have been involved with Lions and Wales, what’s been really important is their ability to create a relationship with the players and the coaching team, so it’s almost like they become an invisible part of it.
“Then you find yourself just carrying on with your normal routine, because of the trust that you build up with them. So that’s the challenge with Netflix. At the moment my understanding is that we don’t have any editorial rights and that is a little bit of a concern because you want to make sure you are able to protect yourself.”
Jones touched down in Sydney from Tokyo on Sunday morning with his wife Hiroko and footage was shot of the moment the biggest name in international coaching returned to his homeland.
The experienced coach, who has coached at four World Cups and been involved in three finals, said his dream was to see rugby back on the frontpage of newspapers with the headline “Wallabies win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 22 years.”
He will hold his first major press conference since touching down at Matraville Sports High School – the school he attended alongside the Ella brothers Mark and Glen and Gary – on Tuesday.
Less than a year ago Jones took offence when he was called a “traitor” by a spectator at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The incident went viral and occurred during England’s come-from-behind series victory over the Wallabies at the SCG.
Jones, who won the Bledisloe Cup in his first two years in charge of the Wallabies and led Australia to the World Cup final in 2003, is considered box office material and his man-management style has long fascinated players, coaches, administrators and the public.
Before his return, new Manly coach Anthony Seibold, who was the England defence coach for the previous 18 months, told The Roar that not only was Jones the best person he had worked alongside in “coaching in the moment” but that he would add a “whole heap” in lifting the profile of rugby in Australia.
“What he would bring if they considered bringing him on is that he’s got a high profile, which probably rugby needs in Australia in some ways,” Seibold told The Roar.
“With the British and Irish Lions tour, the World Cup in ’27, if they were looking to add to their coaching staff or consider Eddie, he cuts through all the rugby league and the AFL media, doesn’t he?
“Post-Dave Rennie or after the World Cup, if they’re looking for another coach or they have a position for Eddie, I would think he’d add a whole heap.”
That theme was extended during The Roar’s feature piece with nine Wallabies.
Already, the announcement of his return as Wallabies coach has put rugby back into headlines.
Jones was sacked as England coach despite having the nation’s greatest ever win record (73 per cent).
During his seven-year tenure with England, he led the proud rugby nation to 18 consecutive victories during his first two years in charge, won three Six Nations, including a grand slam in 2016, won two series in Australia and took them to the World Cup final.
Jones replaced Dave Rennie, who won just 38 per cent of his Test in charge of the Wallabies.
Jones’ return shapes as one of the most fascinating in rugby history, with the prodigal son of Australian rugby returning 18 years after he was sacked following a dreadful run in 2005.
Those who played under him consider him the best coach they played under, with former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock describing him as the “complete package” while Elton Flatley said he “got the best out of me” as a player.
Former prop Matt Dunning, who was ridiculed by the Wallabies coach when he first met him during a review at the Coogee Bay in 2003, said Jones was the “Justin Langer figure” the Wallabies needed and he thrived with the “stick” being given to him.
“The first time I was picked in the Wallabies was in ’03 before the Tri-Nations,” Dunning said.
“I had never spoken to Eddie, I had never met Eddie. I walked into the little office down at Coogee Bay, had my one-on-one meeting, he goes, ‘G’day, Tuck, is it? Why do they call you Tuck?
“I explain the reason, ‘Frier Tuck.’ He goes, ‘That’s a stupid nickname.’ And I said ‘Well, I didn’t make it up.’
“He goes, ‘Righto Tuck, you’ve had three years of Super Rugby, if zero is useless and seven’s the best player in the world, what would you have given yourself for the 2001 season?’
“I said, ‘I don’t know, three.’ He goes, ‘No, zero, you were hopeless.’
“He goes, ‘2002, same scenario, what would you have given yourself?’
“I went, ‘Two.’
“He goes, ‘No, another zero, terrible, hopeless, I wouldn’t have you near me.’
“I went, ‘Right.’
“’2003, this year, what do you give yourself?’
“I went, ‘A one.’
“He went, ‘One, you’ve been heaps better than that. You were a three. Much better, heaps better. You’re not even a good judge, but let me tell you one thing, unless you’re a four, I won’t pick you, I’ll pick a club footballer before you unless you’re a four or above because you’ve got a lot to do because you’re only just a three.’
“That was my first meeting with him.”
Stories about Jones are infamous and while the Wallabies coach is said to have softened some of his ways, he is must watch.
If Jones can break the Wallabies’ Bledisloe drought, his story will become legendary.