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Connacht boss Andy Friend reveals the coach he admires most in the world

Andy Friend

Andy Friend has revealed that Eddie Jones is the rugby coach that he admires the most, commending the 61-year-old for his thirst for knowledge.

Connacht head coach Friend has done a good job with the Irish province since taking over in 2018, but he still has a way to go before catching up with Jones’ achievements.

Jones has been working as a professional coach since the 1990s, and Friend is impressed at how much passion the highly-experienced rugby aficionado still has for the game.

Andy Friend on why he admires Eddie Jones more than any other coach.

“It would be Eddie Jones. Eddie and I have known each other for 20 years. I owe the man a lot because he got me my first start in Japan, to be honest,” Friend said, when asked which coach he admires the most.

“But we’ve also remained close mates throughout all of that. We don’t talk all the time, but every now and again we’ll just drop each other a text and check in, and I just love the way he sees the game.

“I love the way he thinks about the game, I love his desire to be innovative and his desire to continue to grow and challenge and stretch himself. So, Eddie would be the first coach that jumps into my mind.”

‘The best coaches are the ones who ask you questions.’

Jones is well able to talk, and often gives more interesting answers than many of his fellow coaches when interviewed, although he is actually more inclined to ask questions.

Friend explained that he is trying to emulate Jones in attempting to learn from others, rather than being too eager to impart the knowledge he already has.

“I’d go for dinner with Eddie and I’d realise that I was talking 90% of the time because he asked all the questions. So, now I fire in a few questions myself. He’ll answer those and then he’ll come back with a few questions and it’s pretty much who can get the first question in,” Friend said.

“So, I’ve learnt how to communicate with Eddie now. And that’s one of the things I love about him, he asks a lot of questions. And again, he’s got this thirst for knowledge, he wants to know. Whereas you’ll find some coaches, they want to tell you. They want to tell you everything they’re doing.

“But I think the best coaches are the ones that continually ask you questions and they’re more than happy to share their thoughts on things if you get the chance to ask the question.

“But if you’re not careful, sometimes with the better coaches, you just end up answering everything they’ve asked you and then the meeting is finished and you live to fight another day.”

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