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Anthony Seibold endorses Eddie Jones for Australian rugby role, best on-field coach, Dave Rennie future

Anthony Seibold says he has never seen a better person at “coaching in the moment” than Eddie Jones and believes he would “add a whole heap” to the game Down Under were he to one day return to the Wallabies.

Seibold, who spent the past 18 months as Jones’ assistant coach, recently returned to Australia after accepting a job back in the NRL where he would return to the Manly Sea Eagles as head coach.

He signed a deal to join the Sea Eagles before the November Tests, which proved to be Jones’ last in charge of England as the Rugby Football Union sacked the Australian following an underwhelming finish to 2022.

Jones’ departure after seven years, where the Australian finished with England’s highest win-record (73 per cent), has seen the 62-year-old linked to a return to the Wallabies.

While Rugby Australia expected Jones would only become available post next year’s World Cup, believing he could play a key role over the “golden decade” to come, his sudden departure from Pennyhill Park has forced the governing body to reconsider the best course of action.

“Everything is on the table,” according to RA sources, with the governing body currently conducting a review into 2022.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: England defensive coach Anthony Seibold gestures during the England Rugby squad captain's run at Optus Stadium on July 01, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Anthony Seibold says he has never seen a better on field coach than Eddie Jones. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Seibold, who has a working relationship with Wallabies assistant Dan McKellar, did not want to comment directly on whether Jones should be parachuted into a role within Rugby Australia, but he does believe his former boss has something to offer his home nation when Rennie eventually leaves his post.

“What he would bring if they considered bringing him on is that he’s got a high profile, which probably rugby needs in Australia in some ways,” Seibold told The Roar.

“With the British and Irish Lions tour, the World Cup in ’27, if they were looking to add to their coaching staff or consider Eddie, he cuts through all the rugby league and the AFL media, doesn’t he?

“Post-Dave Rennie or after the World Cup, if they’re looking for another coach or they have a position for Eddie, I would think he’d add a whole heap.”

Seibold, who worked under master NRL coach Craig Bellamy at the Storm, said Jones’ work-ethic was second-to-none but it was his ability to see things on the field that separated him from most

“I thought he’s the best coach I’ve worked with regards to coaching in the moment, so coaching in the field and in the moment,” Seibold said.

“Being able to retain information through his coaching eye.

“He’s an elite coach, he’s worked at that elite level for 20 years and his record speaks for itself; he’s the most winning coach in England’s history and the only person to win two series against Australia.

“I learned a whole heap from him. But the things that stood out were his worth ethic, very critical, that higher purpose, bigger picture stuff, and he’s the best I’ve seen with picking things up in the moment, coaching things up on the grass.”

Eddie Jones, the England head coach talks to England standoff, Marcus Smith, prior to the Autumn Nations Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 20, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones’ sacking did not go down well with everyone in English rugby. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Since Jones’ departure, a number of England stars have expressed their disappointment that the Australian wasn’t able to finish the job and take them through to the World Cup.

Former captain Owen Farrell, who lost the leadership responsibilities for the successful tour of Australia in July, was one of a number of players who said he was “very disappointed”.

Back-rower Lewis Ludlam added: “I don’t necessarily agree that it was the right decision.”

While Danny Care, who was left out of the squad for the November Tests after making a long-awaited return against Australia, told the BBC Rugby Union Weekly podcast that Jones was the “best coach” he had worked under.

Seibold hadn’t seen the comments, but said he was not surprised to hear players expressing their disappointment.

“I haven’t seen that but it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“I thought Eddie had extremely positive relationships with the players, and all those guys mentioned he worked very closely with and had a significant impact on their careers.”

Jones is known as one of rugby’s great task-maskers.

Stories of Jones’ methods are infamous, with former halfback Joe Simpson, who didn’t feature under the Australian, revealing that one coach was given sausages rather than a steak because he didn’t “deserve” it.

Seibold didn’t downplay Jones’ expectations but added that he did not have an issue with them either.

“He runs a high-performance environment and, in those environments, of course you have extremely high expectations of staff and players,” he said.

“I don’t see that as a negative. It’s country verse country. It’s international rugby.

“He’s got very high standards and very high expectations, which in some regards is rightly so because it’s international rugby.

Ludlam, who missed the November Tests but played a key role during the 2-1 series win over Australia, said culture meant different things to different people.

“Culture is an interesting thing in sport, and it’s almost impossible to please everyone and get a culture that fits everyone in the team and some people in that high-pressure environment don’t enjoy it and don’t thrive in it,” Ludlam told The Times’ Ruck podcast. “And for some people with Eddie, it allowed themselves to take the pressure off and enjoy that high-pressure environment.

“It’s not going to work for everyone, it is uncomfortable for everyone, but I think uncomfortable is good. I think uncomfortable gets the best out of you, it spurs you on. It is uncompromising, but I think with Eddie, you know exactly what you’re getting, you know exactly what the standard is, there’s no confusion on that, which I think is the beauty of that whole environment.”

Jones was increasingly criticised for bringing in coaches from outside of England and, especially, assistants from outside rugby.

Seibold said he didn’t see himself as “out of the box”, pointing to his career where he has been an assistant coach at a number of high profile clubs and indeed a head coach twice in the NRL.

He added that Jones liked being challenged, which is why he “brings people from different countries and different sports” into his coaching structure.

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