- Eddie Jones, Australia’s coach, has expressed concern about the increasing stop-and-start aspect of rugby games.
- He has stated that these delays not only disrupt the flow of the game but also have a negative impact on audience behaviour.
- Jones emphasises the importance of empowering referees in order to improve game flow, pointing out that lengthy TMO discussions disturb the sport’s tempo and core values.
Eddie Jones has aired his concerns about the condition of rugby, stating that fans are becoming increasingly annoyed with constant interruptions and meticulous officiating. He believes that his frustration is negatively influencing audience behaviour, as established by his own experience of being booed frequently throughout the World Cup when his image is displayed on the giant screen. Australia’s head coach is concerned that rugby’s core values of fairness and tolerance are diminishing.
Also Read: 10 most popular sports in the World
This has not been an easy tournament for Jones, whose team’s pool qualification fate will be decided this weekend. Australia will likely miss the knockout rounds for the first time after disappointing loss to Fiji and Wales, but Jones asserts the sport’s officials must also consider the bigger picture.
“The way the game is being refereed is causing crowd problems,” Jones stated after his team’s 34-14 victory over Portugal. “I am of the firm opinion that we are destroying the flow of the game. We have got so many stoppages now … we had a TMO for everything. “
He added, “We should empower the referee as the ultimate arbiter of the game. If there’s a clear-cut situation that warrants a red card, address it promptly. It’s crucial to maintain the game’s pace. I believe some of the fan frustration stems from the game’s disrupted flow. I can’t help but wonder how much time was spent on the TMO deliberating over a potential maul try by Portugal. It was evident that it wasn’t a try, so why do we need to repeatedly watch replays?”
Jones has done his best to ignore the booing – “At least they know who I am, I suppose” – but he fears that if it becomes normal, it might have broad repercussions. “Rugby has been based on values, one of which is fair play.” It is not a game of science. It’s not the same as cycling or rowing. It’s a human game based on the contest for the ball. I’ve said this before and I know it’s falling on deaf ears, but I’ll keep going. We have to look after the game, and how we support it is very important.”
Rugby Australia has stated that it is unhappy with the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign but expects Jones to remain as coach. Former Test flanker Phil Waugh, now the RA chief executive, stated that the widespread consensus was that Australia’s issues went beyond coaching and team selection.
Waugh expressed his deep disappointment, stating, “It’s been bitterly disappointing. Where we are now, praying for a Portugal win [over Fiji] … the performances certainly weren’t at a level they needed to be.” He further expressed, “There’s a lot that’s been declining across Australian rugby for some time. I think it’s really important for us to sit back and say: ‘How can we improve the overall ecosystem so that we can produce players that can compete on the top stage? ”