Rugby World Cup top of agenda for Jones

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That would be the panacea for the game in Australia, the cure for all its perceived ills.

"If we win the World Cup it changes things for rugby in Australia, so our target is to win the World Cup, then we'll worry about what happens after that," he said at a press conference at his former school Matraville High School.

"If you look at world rugby at the moment, there are six teams not separated by a cigarette paper.

"They're so tight, and the team that learns the most over the next nine months will be the team that lifts the Webb Ellis Trophy in Stade de France on October 28, and we're intending that to be us."

That would result in children wanting to play rugby. That was what happened for soccer when it thrived on the efforts of the Socceroos last year at their World Cup, and it would be the same when the women competed in their World Cup at home this year.

"We need to create heroes for the young kids," Jones said.

"First, we've got to draw a line in the sand of where we've been and work out where we want to go and have that picture in our head.

"We need people to want to support rugby. Imagine the first round of Super Rugby, and we've got record crowds at every game. What sort of message does that send to the rugby community about Australian rugby being revitalised again? We can't do it by ourselves.

"There's plenty of people who love rugby when the Wallabies win. We've got to win, but we need them to maybe help start it a little more. We need everyone to do their bit in rugby."

Jones said Australia was not short of talented players, but talent didn't win World Cup.

He invoked the spirit of his former Matraville High School teammates, the Ella brothers, Mark, Glen, Gary and Greg, who were in attendance at the venue – the school Jones left in 1977.

"We want to play tough, so at the end of tight games, you win those tight games. That's the traditional Australian digger spirit.

"We want that in the team, and that's the opportunity for the players this year."

If the players could achieve that, people would want to watch rugby again. They would embrace the pressure, and they would want to perform. He was only a small part of the picture, Jones said.


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