Eddie Jones was embroiled in angry exchanges with Australian supporters, who accused the England head coach of being a “a traitor”, following the series decider in Sydney on Saturday. Rugby Australia has condemned the behaviour as “totally unacceptable” after videos emerged on social media in which Jones reacted furiously to the insults.
Videos of two separate incidents came to light after England’s 21-17 win in Sydney to clinch the series. In one of the incidents, a supporter, who is seen holding a beer, can be heard being urged to “spray” Australia-born Jones before pointing at the former Wallabies head coach and saying “you’re a traitor”. Jones, who was with security guards from the Rugby Football Union and the stadium at the time, evidently takes offence to the jibe and approaches the fan, before responding: “What did you say? What did you say? Come here and say it. Come here and say it. Come here and say it.”
Another security guard can also be heard telling the supporter: “I’ve spoken to you before.” In the second video, Jones is again called a “traitor” and an “angry little man” and he responds with similar fury.
It is understood that Jones was heckled and insulted a number of times at the Sydney Cricket Ground and subjected to inappropriate comments. Jones did not address the incidents in his post-match press conference but when contacted by the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, he said: “Clowns think they have full go to abuse coaches.”
Jones is extending his stay in Australia and will spend the coming week in Melbourne while the playing squad and staff flew home on Sunday. The RFU decided against commenting on the incidents.
Jones had previously hinted at similar abuse after the second-Test victory in Brisbane when he said he took great delight in shutting up Wallabies supporters who had goaded him following England’s opening loss in Perth. “You have got 48,000 people all full of drink and all they want to see is their team win,” he said. “When you turn them away, it is a great experience. A great feeling. I was coming out from the coaches’ box and they all have their scarves on. When did Australians start wearing scarves? It is all the rage isn’t it? They are not so smart now. Before the game they are coming up saying to me: ‘You are going to get belted tonight.’ Now they are a little bit more quiet. So that’s good. I enjoy that.”
Jones has been involved in similarly unsavoury incidents before with Ellis Genge revealing both came in for abuse from supporters during the 2018 tour of South Africa. Jones was also the victim of verbal abuse at a Manchester train station when he was goaded by Scotland supporters the day after England’s Calcutta Cup defeat in 2018. Two years later, when preparing for his first return to Murrayfield, Jones said: “That happens every day. What do you reckon happens when I walk down the street? Some people say nice things, some people are into you. It happens every day. If you didn’t want it, you don’t do this job.”
July 17, 2022 at 02:12PM Gerard Meagher in Sydney