Rugby: Recycled Wallabies coach Eddie Jones turns on charm at introductory Sydney media conference

Recycled Australian rugby coach Eddie Jones has said all the right things - including a cheeky response to Newshub's own Emma Cropper - at an introductory media conference in Sydney.

Jones, 63, was dumped as England coach, but quickly snapped up to replace Kiwi Dave Rennie at the helm of the Wallabies, whom he led to the 2003 World Cup final.

Now back on home soil, he has spent much of his first public appearance assuring his constituency that he would return the team to its Aussie roots, perhaps a subtle dig at the NZ influence of Rennie and former Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle. 

Jones seemed happy to have a Kiwi in the room to target with his charming sense of humour.

"Great to have a Kiwi here, isn't it," he said. "Just evens out the room a little bit.

"Nice to have you here... what was your name again? Emma, it's sometimes hard to understand the New Zealand accent."

Jones was full of praise for the All Blacks, whom he battled to a late draw with England in November - but warned the Wallabies had their trans-Tasman rivals firmly in their sights.

"I think the Kiwis have done really well," he insisted. "They went through that tough period last year where, if they lost that game in Johannesburg, there might have been a change in coach.

"They battled through, won the Rugby Championship and then had a really good end-of-season tour. They've gone through that transitional period, where they had a great team from 2012-16, maybe came off a little bit 2017-19 and have now had to rejig the team.

"They've always got great talent coming through and I'm sure we'll see that in Super Rugby... good coach in Ian Foster, good support coaches in Joe Schmidt and the young bloke from the Crusaders [Jason Ryan].

"I think they're in a good spot, but we're coming after them, we're going to be chasing them down the street. We want that rivalry to be tough and I think New Zealand want that as well, so we'll make sure we're chasing them."

The media conference was staged at Matraville Sports High School, where Jones attended and played alongside the legendary Ella brothers - Mark, Glen and Gary. He drew on their inspiration, as he outlined the path forward.

"Australian rugby has gone through tough periods before," he said. "This is not unusual.

Eddie Jones after England's comeback draw with the All Blacks
Eddie Jones after England's comeback draw with the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty Images

"If you just look back at when the Ellas came through... in '77, they played for Matraville High, they played for Australian schoolboys and won everything in the UK, and that set off a movement in Australian rugby.

"During that time, Australia got beaten by Tonga, but then the Ellas came through and changed the way the game was played. They changed that spirit of Australian rugby... to an aggressive running style of rugby and changed the fortunes of Australian rugby that culminated in that '84 Grand Slam, and ended up winning the World Cup in 1991 and again in 1999."

Under Rennie, the Wallabies won just 13 of 34 games - the worst record of any Australian coach presiding over 30 tests.