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Wallabies have rediscovered some mongrel in Europe, says former coach Eddie Jones

The last Wallabies coach to lose three Tests on a spring tour of Europe insists Australia has rediscovered “old fashion mongrel” and can be a World Cup contender next year.
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Former Wallabies mentor Eddie Jones has backed Michael Cheika to lead an Australian rugby revival, nine years after Jones was sacked for losing three of four Tests on the spring tour in 2005.

Jones also believes Cheika has a rapport with “those naughty-boy-type of players” to help focus the team’s charge at the tournament next year.

The Wallabies face the worrying scenario of slumping to Australia’s worst tour winning record since Jones’ men in 2005 if they lose to England at Twickenham on Sunday morning Australian time.

Cheika is unfazed by statistics and is focused on building depth and experience a month after starting in the role and 10 months out from the World Cup.

“Without a doubt they can turn it around,” Jones said while on his own tour of Europe with the Japanese team.

“The thing about the World Cup is that you get three months to prepare a team. I think Cheika’s going to do a really good job, but he needs time.

“You can see they’ve already got some of that old fashion mongrel back. [Sean McMahon’s] got that and shows real promise.

“A lot of the things that have let them down on this tour have been individual errors. But with Cheika’s training that will become less and less.”

Kurtley Beale’s reintroduction to the Wallabies set-up last week caused division among fans in Australia six weeks after details emerged of a lewd message he sent to former team business manager Di Patston.

Beale has apologised and his $45,000 fine will be paid to the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team to promote empowerment for indigenous girls and women.

Cheika admitted the easy option would have been to avoid recalling Beale until next year, but said he didn’t want to play politics with the star’s on-field duties.

Beale is set to sign a new contract with the ARU in the coming weeks.

“I think Cheika’s got that rapport with those naughty-boy-type players,” Jones said.

“He knows how to look after them, he knows when to cut them a bit of slack. He knows when to be hard on them … guys like [Quade] Cooper and Beale in particular.

“We’ve already seen Beale [for the NSW Waratahs] flourish under Cheika and I think Cooper will be the same. What Beale did was inexcusable, but he’s been punished for it.

“If he’s good enough to be in the squad he should be in there, you can’t carry those things over. But there has to be a point made that if he does transgress the line again, it might be difficult for him to stay in the squad.”

Jones said Stephen Moore was the standout captaincy contender for the World Cup when he returns from a knee reconstruction, while the squad already boasts incumbent Michael Hooper and former leaders James Horwill and Will Genia.

Jones led the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final against England, but was sacked following the spring tour two years later when the Wallabies lost to France, England and Wales.

Cheika has now had five weeks to start moulding the Wallabies into his style after taking over from Ewen McKenzie in October.

The Wallabies have had three coaches in the past 18 months and have struggled to find international consistency.

McKenzie won four of five Tests in Europe last year – his first spring tour as Wallabies coach – and beat France 3-0 in a Test series in June.

But a disastrous Rugby Championship campaign, which included a thrashing at the hands of New Zealand and being beaten by Argentina, and off-field dramas, led to McKenzie’s decision to quit.

Cheika was thrust into the role three days before the spring tour left Sydney to play five games in Europe, including Tests against Wales, France, Ireland and England.

Cheika will be “creative” as he juggles the NSW Waratahs’ expectations of winning back-to-back Super Rugby championships and the Wallabies’ World Cup preparations.

“A November tour is the most difficult time to take over a team because with a new coach you want to bring in new things,” Jones said.

“He likes a team with a high work ethic and to do that in November is difficult. But I definitely think they’re moving in the right direction.”

Jones believes Cooper and Will Genia will be “humming” when the World Cup starts next year.

The Queensland duo have been put in the unusual situation of sitting on the bench together. It’s the first time in 11 years of playing together that they’ve shared bench roles.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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