Eddie looking to the future
By MITCHELL DALE
WALLABIES coach Eddie Jones got a sneak peak into the future yesterday, putting the next generation of Australian rugby stars through their paces at Pacific Bay.
Jones was guest coach at the Australia Under-19s training camp at the Wallabies' home base, where the squad is preparing for next month's World Championships in South Africa.
There is a good chance it won't be the last time Jones deals with some of the squad, with stars like George Gregan, Phil Waugh and George Smith among the many current Wallabies who were once Australian Under-19s representatives.
The Wallabies boss yesterday said the experience had a two-fold benefit.
"It's a good chance to lend moral support and also do a bit of talent scouting," Jones says.
"I will probably take the latter half of the session, which will give the other coaches a chance to sit back and have a look at the squad.
"I'll be doing a similar session to what I would do with the Wallabies, a bit of attack and defence."
Australia Under-19 head coach, Scott Wisemantel, says the side is primed for a better finish than last year.
"We finished sixth last year, but we have definitely set our sights on a semi-final spot and will reassess our goals from there," Wisemantel says.
"We have a tough pool, we play France (on April 1), Argentina (April 5) and Ireland (April 9), so there are no easy games.
"But I would rather it that way, it means we will know where we sit in relation to players around the world at this age."
This year's Australian squad features eight players from the 2004 campaign.
"We have a core group of the squad backing up and I'll be looking for them to lead the side," Wisemantel said.
"We also have six players who will be eligible next year."
With Coffs Harbour's recent streak of cold weather snapping yesterday, team management couldn't be happier.
Australia Under-19s team manager Rob Abernethy said the hot weather would help the side acclimatise.
"We are hoping to replicate the hot and humid environment of Durban (host city)," he said.
"And I am certain that Eddie will push them to the nth degree both physically and mentally."