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Important step for World Cup campaign

By MITCHELL DALE

WALLABIES coach Eddie Jones reckons his side moved an important step closer to returning 'Bill' to his rightful home last week.

Jones says the Australian Rugby Union's decision to extend to Wallabies' contract to train in Coffs Harbour until the end of 2007 provides his squad with a solid launching pad.

He says that will be an important factor as the Wallabies build towards the 2007 Rugby World Cup, when they will attempt to win back the William Web Ellis Cup, known as Bill to the players, which was lost to England in 2003.

"Most definitely, it is a very important step," Jones said.

"All other Nations have their own training facilities, now (Coffs Harbour) really is becoming the permanent home of the Wallabies.

"It is important to have that in place."

Jones said it was no coincidence that the Wallabies extended their contract with Coffs Harbour City Council until RWC 2007.

"Rugby tends to go in four-year cycles from one World Cup to the next," he said.

"It is good to know we have a quality training base for the next three years and that gives us a lot of confidence to go forward.

"We have put a lot of work into the training centre and we have been lucky that Coffs Harbour City Council and Pacific Bay have also put a lot of work into it."

Jones also hinted that Coffs Harbour will welcome a few new residents every year until 2007.

"Each year the side changes by around 15-20 percent," he said.

"So looking forward three years, I think the squad will have changed a bit."

Jones said the decision to stay in Coffs was popular with the players.

"They are really comfortable in Coffs Harbour," Jones said.

"They know they are coming to a city that is neutral and does not favour either the Queensland or NSW players which is important.

"The city has been very good to us."