Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh says Eddie Jones’ criticism of three Wallabies greats was “completely unfair” after officially parting ways with the controversial coach on Tuesday.
Waugh would not be drawn on the specifics RA’s financial settlement with Jones – who leaves in the first year of a five year contract – other than to say it was a “sensible” arrangement that would not further cripple the code.
Before quitting, Jones poured further fuel on a raging fire when he declared Michael Hooper, Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley were not the right “role models” for the Wallabies despite him presiding over a historic Rugby World Cup flop with an overmatched, young team.
Watch the Wallaroos in the WXV1 competition on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. Every match ad free, live and on demand in 4K UHD
“I think it’s a completely unfair comment,” Waugh told reporters.
“Across Michael Hooper, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, I think there’s 280-300 Test matches between those three. They’ve all put their body on the line over a long period of time and are role models to not just their peers but young boys and girls coming through the system.
“So I think it is an absolutely unfair comment towards those players, given what they’ve contributed to rugby.”
READ MORE: The gun NRL players your club could lose tomorrow
READ MORE: Grim pay accusations rock team’s World Cup campaign
READ MORE: Axed club launches audacious bid to re-enter NRL
Waugh again admitted he had never asked Japan’s national union whether Jones had interviewed for their vacant coaching role.
He said foreigners would be considered as Jones’ replacement, including outgoing All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
“Obviously Fozzie had a great campaign this year and a pretty close final that probably could have gone either way,” Waugh said.
“We’re open to getting the best coach for our system and our team.”
Pressed on Jones’ links with Japan, Waugh argued there had been no need for him to pick up the phone and get to the bottom of the matter.
“I genuinely don’t think that level of inquiry is required of me, I have a very good relationship with all national unions, including Japan, I took Eddie at his word,” Waugh said.
“I don’t think it changes the position where we’re at now, whether Eddie was to stay or go.”