The Blog

Eddie Jones Is Pulling All of the Strings and Playing the Media Game With Ease

As soon as Eddie Jones' was confirmed as England's new head coach it was clear that England were going to enter a new era and one that was quite different to what we had seen previously. Eddie Jones is not a man to entertain the word compromise, the Australian does everything his way and that includes the manner in which he manages, and uses, the media.

"He's like a Vauxhall Viva now, we want to make him into a BMW. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's got potential."

"I said to the boys already that's our aim: to go out there and give them a good hiding. That's the only thing we want to worry about."

"It has worked for them. It is not the way I think you should play rugby but it has been successful for them. They minimise their risk."

In just a few short weeks Eddie Jones has ignited our papers, TV screens and airways with his outspoken approach. We've heard quick quips, comparisons to football teams and questions raised over individual's fitness levels. There are some that haven't been happy with his strategy calling it scaremongering and questioning whether or not it fits with the values of rugby. However from where I'm sat we are watching a master at work and it is all part of his process to bring English rugby out of its shell and finally reach the heights that he believes are possible.

After so many years in the professional game Eddie Jones understands the power of the media and exactly how to use it to his, and his team's, full advantage. England's head coach says everything for a reason and only gives away the information that believes will be of benefit to divulge. The 56-year-old won't be cajoled into anything and if he needs a moment or two to work out his strategy then he'll throw in a quick joke. As the laughter rings around the press room he takes time to formulate his next step and after continues. He is a canny operator.

The fact of the matter is that since the start of the RBS 6 Nations we have been all be focusing on Eddie Jones, not his players, and that is having positive impacts on England.

First, he is riling opponents. Scotland, Italy or Ireland may not openly admit it however Eddie Jones certainly made his presence felt in the build-up to all three test matches. He poked them with his comments, ruffled a few feathers and when it came to game day it seemed to have the desired effect on all three.

Second, he is taking the pressure off his players for while the spotlight is firmly on Eddie they are quietly going about their business and improving. Under the Australian younger squad members aren't allowed to face the media, they have to do something of note and be ready for it before he allows them air-time. Maro Itoje was a prime example of this, in years gone by a player earning his first International start would have been put on media duties to express how proud and excited he was. This time Itjoe was kept under wraps and Jones said 'when he's played a massive game for England and won a significant Test match, I'll let you talk to him' Once again this another manifestation of smart media management.

Of course it's a big departure from the style that we've witnessed in recent years but in all honesty it is exactly what England need. Under Stuart Lancaster England were extremely polite and respectful, both are admirable characteristics, however in the cold light of day you have to admit that they are not always world beating ones. Of course you can be polite and be a winner however more often than not those that ruthlessly pursue victory have a gnarly edge about them and a sharpness of character.

Right now, Eddie Jones is making his presence felt in the Northern Hemisphere, he's playing the media game with ease and while he has put himself on a 'self-imposed media ban' until just before the Wales game that is just another astute tactic in his strategy to ensure that England keep on winning.