Eddie Jones believes the Wallabies have a ‘real chance’ of surprising the All Blacks in Saturday’s final at Twickenham.
The former Wallabies coach even suggested the clash was shaping up to be the ‘best Test match in history’ due to the quality of rugby both teams were capable of producing, while he also highlighted just how much would be at stake.
‘Because New Zealand see Australia as an inferior younger sibling, we’re probably the team they hate losing to the most,’ he wrote in the Daily Mail. ‘I remember winning in front of their home fans in Dunedin and you could feel the whole country go into a slump.
‘Over the years, New Zealand have had the edge but Australia have a real chance. They’re the team on the way up and have probably played the better rugby leading up to the final.’
Jones, who coached the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, said the key in a week such as this would be to ensure the players don’t get caught up by the occasion.
‘The best teams will treat it as just another game. Everyone knows the end result means more, but they have to treat it as business as usual so they don’t get distracted. Yes, it’s the last ever Test for guys like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, but they won’t be overcome.’
Reflecting on the two semi-finals, Jones suggested the All Blacks would have gained more from the test posed by the Springboks.
‘The Wallabies were a bit too loose against Argentina, they kept letting them back in and there will be a few things to tidy up. On the flip side, New Zealand were outstanding against South Africa. During the first 40 minutes, the Springboks delivered probably their best performance for five or six years. The All Blacks were a little bit off their game, so to scrape through and gut it out was a perfect dress rehearsal for the final.’