Former England, Japan and Australia coach Eddie Jones says having a world-class training centre ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in France will come as a huge boost to the Flying Fijians.
Jones in an interview with Kyodo News said the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be the “most fascinating” yet and that several teams are capable of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France.
“In rugby, it’s not so much about population, it’s more about tradition, so what’s to say two smaller countries cannot make the final four. Imagine if you had a final four of New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and Fiji. Imagine how fascinating that would be — probably not too fascinating for Ireland or France (World Rugby’s current top two nations), but there’s no reason that couldn’t happen.”
“Fiji now have a world-class training centre, which they never had before. So all these changes are happening that are allowing countries to come up. So it makes it a much more even playing field.”
The 62-year-old Australian further said the second cluster of teams included the likes of Japan and Argentina, who the Brave Blossoms face in Pool B at the World Cup along with England, Samoa and Chile.
“Probably any of those (in the second group) could beat the top six on their day, though probably not consistently. And underneath that you have another group of Italy, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Georgia, and all of those five could probably beat (the teams above them).”
Jones said such a situation was unprecedented in international rugby and that Brave Blossoms need to improve is the set piece.