Eddie Jones has been coaching at the highest level for over 20 years.
In that time, the Australian would have witnessed the transformation of rugby union – the game looks completely different now from what it did in the late 1990s.
Yet, the coach has been successful in the majority of the roles has taken throughout his coaching career.
A Super Rugby title with the Brumbies as head coach in 2001, reaching the World Cup final with the Wallabies as head coach in 2003, acting as technical advisor to the Springboks for their 2007 World Cup triumph, spearheading Japan to a shock win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup to his current role of England head coach where he helped them reach the 2019 World Cup final.
There have been some failures within that time but it’s safe to say that Jones is one of the most successful coaches in the sport.
After the 2007 World Cup, Jones would have coached a player who will now be standing in the opposition coaching box at Twickenham next Sunday – Andy Farrell.
Jones was Director of Rugby with Saracens in the 2008/2009 campaign which was Farrell’s last season as a professional rugby player before he moved into coaching.
Farrell would have seen first-hand Jones’ coaching methods back then while he has been a key observer of the Australian as he forged his own path as a coach.
The Ireland boss, when asked about his upcoming meeting with 60-year-old, outlined his admiration for Jones, especially when it comes to establishing fresh approaches to coaching and not being afraid to try new methods.
“He is the best I’ve ever seen at keeping on reinventing himself, Eddie,” Farrell said.
“He is hungry to keep getting better as a coach. He doesn’t get older in my eyes, Eddie, because he keeps himself relevant. How much he is able to be calm enough to change his mind on a few things and go with a different and fresh approach I think is key to the longevity of his coaching career.
“He’s still on the upward curve which says everything really.”
As a coach, Farrell believes you don’t need to reinvent yourself for the sake of it, it’s more a case of having enough self-awareness to identify if your methods are stale or no longer having the same impact – then you can make changes.
“You don’t keep reinventing yourself if things are going really well. You have to make sure, in all walks of life in my opinion, that if you start going on a downward curve, you’ve got to realise how quickly you’ve to catch yourself to get back on the upward curve.
“Those guys who, in business or as a player or a coach, and feel you’re on the slide a little bit and say ‘I’m still doing what I’ve always done and it’s worked for me in the past’ et cetera, then you probably end up going a little bit lower than what you’ve got. That’s what you’ve got to be careful of and I think he [Jones] does that pretty well.”
Ahead of the clash with England, Farrell has witnessed first hand what Jones’ side have done to Ireland in their last two games. What will be high on his priority list will be to stifle England’s fast start which has proved so detrimental to Ireland in their two losses in 2019.
“Well we know that they’re a really difficult team to handle when they start well, and that’s been at the forefront of all their really impressive performances over the last couple of years, and that’s certainly what they’ve done against us in those last two games, no more so than the game at the Aviva.
“So we’ll expect more of that.”