Before the RWC, we have the highly-anticipated Foster vs Jones showdown to look forward to


Much of the focus has been on Eddie Jones and the Wallabies for the upcoming Rugby World Cup time, but there is the small matter beforehand to get supporters salivating – the Bledisloe Cup.

In one corner you have Jones with an overall impressive record with England by doing things his way and not adhering to the hierarchy. He has impressive starts when coaching a national team including his first stint with the Wallabies.

Over time his personality overtakes all rationality which has affected his teams negatively, but he has shown great results in the first few years which RA would have considered upon appointing him for his second stint.

If we look at just a small sample of the problems that England had since the 2019 Rugby World Cup, it made for genuine concern and the poor results followed. Marcus Smith was supposed to be the new Johnny Wilkinson at 10 but with more flair, after a great start to his England career, Smith became inconsistent.

10 is still an area that has affected England by not having someone stepping up and showing a genuine point of difference with consistency, this is the same issue with Australia with no one showing that they are world-class.

The England scrum has not been the force it once was, which has then affected the team with front-foot ball regularly being impacted. England lacked the much-needed leadership in both the forwards and backs, again this is a major source of problems for the Wallabies.

Australia are now showing much-needed improvement with their forwards, but composure and discipline are their kryptonite. This also applies to the backs.

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

A fresh start for both Jones and the Wallabies could be the catalyst going forward that Australia needs, and Jones will not be afraid to be vocal to RA about his position on the team and all things Rugby. He will need to have the side playing hard but with discipline and encourage the players to have the freedom to play to their strengths and that of the team.

With the genuine depth now created and players returning from injuries, the Wallabies are looking strong going forward. The 2023 RWC might be too soon for the Wallabies but beyond this, there are genuine reasons to be optimistic.

Take away the debacle around RA and Dave Rennie with his departure, Australia now have their man. They have an Australian and an Australian coach who understands the Australian psyche which is a vital factor.

This year is the opportunity more than any for the Wallabies to create history and dent the All Blacks confidence. This is a great opportunity for Jones and his players to start the march up the rankings and provide the supporters with much-needed encouragement and belief.

Jones will be looking at the Bledisloe Cup as a major opportunity to set down a marker and a source to put other countries on notice. He also understands that the All Blacks are fragile, with many questioning Ian Foster which impacts the players more than most might understand.

Coach Ian Foster looks on during a New Zealand All Blacks Training Session at Sky Stadium on July 26, 2022 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Ian Foster (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

After an up-and-down season and the All Blacks letting match-winning leads disappear (England the most recent example), Foster needs to bring that killer instinct back to the All Blacks.

Unlike great teams of the past that would score just before or after halftime and dominate the last 20 minutes, the current one is not on the same level. Fitness needs to be one of the priorities heading into this season and that is both mental and physical. This will help to encourage the players to be more productive and ruthless come game time.

Foster needs to implement the right game plan around Richie Mo’unga to get the best out of him. On his day, Mo’unga is as good as any number 10 going around but that does not include a game plan of kicking every possession away.

With Jamie Joseph making himself available as head coach after the World Cup, Foster needs to go all out with consistency in selections and a game plan. With this, the team will have a better understanding and will play with the necessary confidence required.

The Bledisloe Cup this year will be the most important so far for Foster in his tenure, he needs to show the supporters that the All Blacks are on the right track.

A key factor will be the off-field game between Foster and Jones in the media. Jones will not be afraid to bring it and Foster will not win the battle of the words so silence may be his best weapon.

Foster can speak about the team and leave conversations about the Wallabies out – any engagement with Jones will have a negative impact on the team.

Richie Mo’unga of the All Blacks makes a break

Richie Mo’unga. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

This will be the most anticipated Bledisloe Cup for a long time. With a coach returning home with expectations from both RA and the supporters, against a coach that is still trying to decide what game plan will bring out the best of his team.

The Bledisloe Cup is around the corner with expectations high from both sides of the ditch, only one will come out on top.

But there is more than the Bledisloe Cup on the line with momentum and genuine belief being the key ingredients for the RWC as the rest of Europe will be watching on with genuine interest alongside South Africa.

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