Barbarian F.C. coach Eddie Jones insists his passion for coaching remains stronger than ever, following a turbulent six weeks which has seen the 62-year-old replaced as England boss by Steve Borthwick, but quickly snapped up by Australia ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Jones – who will return to Twickenham for the first time on Sunday 28 May, looking to win the Killik Cup when he leads the Barbarians against Steve Hansen’s World XV side – took charge of the Wallabies on Sunday evening.

There has been plenty of water under the bridge since Jones was last head coach of Australia, having coached South Africa, Japan, and England (as well as club sides Queensland Reds and Suntory Sungoliath) in the 18 years since 2005 when he was dismissed by the Wallabies.

But while Jones has no intention of slowing down yet, with a five-year deal now in place with Rugby Australia until 2027 which includes two World Cup campaigns and a home British & Irish Lions tour, he admits he has been humbled by the opportunity to bring his career full circle.

“In coaching, there isn’t a pathway,” he said. “You just try and do as good a job as you can, and you keep doing the job until someone tells you that you can’t do it anymore.

“People either offer you a job, or you go looking for a job, and I was lucky enough to be offered this one – but it does potentially close a circle on a coaching career.

“It’s been 18 years since I’ve coached Australia and, in that time, I’ve coached South Africa, Japan and England. I’ve won a World Cup final, lost a World Cup final, and now I get a chance to coach my own country so it’s quite humbling.

“I probably thought that England was going to be my last full-time coaching role, but I’m enjoying it so much still. 

“As long as I’m healthy, fit, energetic and committed, then there’s no reason why you should stop, is there? I love the game.

“I can’t wait to coach the Barbarians again this year – I had that commitment written into my new contract. It’ll be a great challenge.”

Jones’ appointment opens up the possibility of a mouth-watering clash against former employers England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals later this year.

He was at the helm for the Final between the two countries back in 2003, with his Australia side beaten on home soil by a last-minute drop-goal from England’s Jonny Wilkinson.

He said: “[The quarter-final] is something I’ve thought about. It’ll be another game, but another game with a bit of difference – just like coaching England against Australia, or England against Japan. 

“They all mean a bit because you’ve had experience with the people in those teams, so there’s always a bit more emotion to it, but nothing over the top.”

In the meantime though, Jones is focused on turning Australia’s fortunes around in 2023, after a poor 12 months for the Wallabies which saw them pick up just five wins from 14 Tests in 2022.

There will be unfinished business for the 62-year-old, with a similar run of form costing him his job as Australia head coach back in 2005, but Jones is clear on where his side can improve in the months ahead.

“To be honest, I never really thought about getting the opportunity to coach Australia again. The first time in 2005, that was a difficult time,” he said.

“You’re coaching your country and it gets taken away from you, but you move on and just get on with it, then re-focus on what you’re doing.

“This [Australia] team is not too far away. Dave Rennie has done a great job under difficult circumstances, as they were probably affected more by covid than most countries.

“We’ll need to find a point of difference. That might be going back to that more aggressive, attacking Australian style of rugby, with a more aggressive defence. Really playing like a traditional Australian side did. 

“We want to get super fit. There are parts of the modern game where you have to play the way it is now, but there are other parts where you can go back to tradition. 

“Australia were traditionally flat at the line, numbers at the line, asking questions of the opposition, and making good decisions. That’s what we want to do.”

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