Jones happy after Wallaby interview

Former Australia coach and powerful radio personality Alan Jones has emerged from a 90-minute inquisition at the Australian Rugby Union headquarters, grateful for the chance to state his case. [more]

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Former Australia coach and powerful radio personality Alan Jones has emerged from a 90-minute inquisition at the Australian Rugby Union headquarters, grateful for the chance to state his case.

Jones, who led the Wallabies to their famous Grand Slam in 1984, has never coached in the professional era, but his campaign for a second tenure has continued to gather steam in recent weeks.

John Muggleton, Laurie Fisher, David Nucifora and Ewen McKenzie were the other candidates for the vacant Wallabies coaching job to front a five-man panel led by former Leicester Tigers coach Pat Howard.

Current Wallabies assistant coach Scott Johnson, who also spent four years as Wales’ assistant coach, withdrew from the race on Thursday citing personal reasons.

"I got a very fair hearing," Jones told an expectant media contingent on Friday.

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"It was very refreshing to be able to discuss – they were interested in what my views were about the game and the difficulties that lie ahead and I articulated I hope what I thought could be done."

An arduous day of auditions was not without incident as current Wallabies assistant coach John Muggleton publicly questioned Jones’ credentials.

"I think I’ve got an advantage over Alan because I’ve coached this century," Muggleton quipped.

Muggleton also contended that much had changed since the Jones’ reign which saw him amass an impressive 23 wins from 30 Tests at the helm.

"Blokes like me have come along and made defence pretty hard to get though, there’s no gaps to run through now against the top nations – you have to actually open a hole," Muggleton said.

"If you watch a lot of (former Wallaby five-eighth) Mark Ella’s tries he ran through gaps showed it on the outside and just straightened up.

"Whereas once upon a time there were holes now you’ve got to make a hole and that’s a completely different mindset."

But Jones was diplomatic in his reply. "I’ve never in anything I’ve ever done, discussed or disparaged other people who are seeking the same opportunities that I am seeking," he said.

"I welcome his candidature all these people are good candidates, good luck to them.

"This is not about a person, this is not a personal thief-dome we’re seeking here. This is a high responsibility to the well-being of Australian rugby where you have to put self-interest aside."

The five-man panel will present their recommendations to the ARU board. However, a final decision may not be forthcoming until next month.

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