Rugby World Cup: New Zealand economy will collapse if Wallabies upset All Blacks, says Australia coach Eddie Jones

Coach Eddie Jones was at his inflammatory best at Thursday's Pre-Bledisloe Cup press conference in Melbourne, suggesting the NZ economy would collapse if his team were able to pull off an upset at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this weekend.

Over 85,000 fans are expected to pack into the iconic ground on Saturday, where the visitors are hotly favoured to get the better of the winless Wallabies and clinch both the Rugby Championship title and a staggering 21st consecutive Bledisloe Cup.

Embracing his team's firm underdog status, Jones took the opportunity to fire a few more barbs across the Tasman, poking fun at New Zealand's rugby obsession and the potential widespread panic that would occur should his team pull off a shock win.

"There's nothing better than winning against New Zealand because you feel the country sinking," said Jones. 

"It's not just rugby that sinks, the country sinks. The whole economy goes down. The Prime Minister is there with his fingers crossed hoping that the All Blacks win because he knows the economy is going to drop if they lose.

"Maybe put the New Zealand PM on call that the economy is going to suffer and at the same time raise our stakes here."

After opening losses to both South Africa and Argentina, Jones has overhauled his gameday squad for Saturday's encounter, naming seven fresh starters and a new captain in Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa.

Jones insists the relatively inexperienced nature of his team will be a positive, hoping his men can play with a freedom and confidence unburdened by the weight of their abysmal showing against their rivals over the past 20 years.

"We've got a young team out there ready to take them on," he said. "Not much past history, just ready to play, and we want to play Australian rugby.

"There's nothing better than Australian rugby taking on NZ rugby. Because the New Zealanders all think they're better than us, they always have." 

Well versed in Jones' antics, Foster dismissed his counterpart's comments with a grin, describing them as emblematic of a typical test week against the gregarious Aussie.

Eddie Jones with Wallabies back  Izaia Perese.
Eddie Jones with Wallabies back Izaia Perese. Photo credit: Getty Images

"You might want to mention that to Chris [Hipkins] and [Christopher] Luxon and they can deal with that comment I just want to deal with the game

"I love it. He is who he is. He prepares his team his way, and we prepare our team our way."

The Wallabies have yet to find their groove under returning coach Jones. They were crushed in Pretoria in the opening week of the tournament against a second-string Springboks side, before the Pumas broke their hearts a week later with a late winner that prompted Jones to explode in frustration in the coaches' box.

They'll face their most difficult test to date against the red-hot unbeaten All Blacks, but Jones welcomes the challenge and is confident his youthful squad will rise to the occasion.

"You're playing against the best in the world and when you're playing against them," he noted. "Not many people think you can win, so that's the opportunity for us.

"We're an Australian team, we're developing, we're moving along a pathway but can we put the Kiwis under pressure on Saturday? Yes, under a lot of pressure and maybe they're going to get a bit of a surprise.

"We're ready to go, mate. We'll see what happens."

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