Gibson: Aussies still paying price of Jones’ methods

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Australian rugby is still paying the price of Eddie Jones’ (pictured) super-structured approach to the game, says Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson.

HE turned Japan into world beaters and resurrected England but Eddie Jones’ coaching style continues to hinder the attacking skills of Australian rugby players compared to Kiwis, according to NSW coach Daryl Gibson.

The skills of Aussie teams have come under increased scrutiny this season compared with their rivals in the new Australasian conference, with New Zealand sides collectively dominating Super Rugby.

In six rounds Kiwi teams have not only won 19 games to Australia’s 11, but scored 40 more tries, used 63 more offloads, had 23 more line breaks and scored 13 more tries from their own half. All with 57 less turnovers.

Eddie Jones taking a Wallabies training session in 2007.

Eddie Jones taking a Wallabies training session in 2007.Source:AFP

Asked to evaluate the difference between approaches to attack in New Zealand and Australia, Gibson — a former All Black centre — said: “There’s definite similarities around the Australian teams around the technical aspects and structure,” Gibson continues.

“New Zealand teams definitely have a strength where they can turn defence into attack. It’s definitely a different philosophy, a difference at a young age and it is something that here in NSW we’re wanting to investigate to make sure our pathways and our kids coming through are taught the skills that we think are necessary to play running rugby.”

Though Jones hasn’t been Wallabies coach for over a decade, Gibson said the heavily structured game the now-England coach introduced remains an issue at junior level.

“It’s a structural thing,” he said.

“The difficulty for us is I think the Eddie Jones era of playing A, B, C-certain type of rugby, that lack of decision making has had an effect on Australian rugby in the fact that it’s very pervasive across the schooling system.

“And then so we tend to get our boys at 18 and probably their skills are very good but their just missing the decision making in an open environment.”

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Gibson stressed, however, the Australian game has its own strengths compared to New Zealand.

“It is (a challenge) but it’s a good challenge and while I say we are not as good there, there are other areas that Australian players are very good and that’s the thing,” Gibson said.

“You’ve got to capitalise on the strengths and not necessarily the weaknesses.”

Poor decision making is certainly a topic on Gibson’s mind. He cited the problem as one of the reasons behind a glut of Waratahs mistakes in their loss to the Rebels at the weekend.

“The bye has given us a good opportunity to get back and practice all those fundamentals that we have lacked,” he said.

“We’ve had too many mistakes, and that comes from poor decision making and too many errors.”

Gibson is less certain about the source of their major weakness in 2016: poor starts.

The coach said he was still uncertain whether lax opening quarters in all matches bar one was the result of excessive training load, or just a poor attitude.

“​​We are scratching our heads around the first 20 minutes,” Gibson said.

“I haven’t been able to put my finger on why we have been starting so poorly. It is something we have been focusing on and yet giving teams a 20-point headstart, and coming out of the blocks in the second half.

“We are searching for some answers. It is certainly one area that we have to improve.”

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