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Eddie Jones podcast: Joe Roff on maverick players and Brumbies’ 2001 Super Rugby-winning side | Rugby Union News

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Last Updated: 21/09/20 5:39pm

Joe Roff joins Eddie Jones and Conor O'Shea on this week's podcast

Joe Roff joins Eddie Jones and Conor O’Shea on this week’s podcast

Wallabies and Brumbies great Joe Roff is the special guest on The Eddie Jones Coaching Podcast this week.

The Brumbies won the inaugural Super Rugby AU title last weekend and the pair cast their minds back to the Canberra side’s historic 2001 campaign, when they became the first non-New Zealand team to win Super Rugby.

Roff was the ‘maverick’ within Jones’ structured Brumbies side and credited the England coach with helping him achieve his potential.

Roff played under Jones with the Brumbies and Australia

Roff played under Jones with the Brumbies and Australia

“The inuendo of a maverick is there is an ego there, and one of the most important things we committed to at the Brumbies was that everyone leaves their ego at the door,” said Roff, who won 86 caps for the Wallabies and scored 244 points.

“I would hope no one ever thought I was lazy to the detriment of the team. Not liking training is very different to not doing the work. The Tuesday contact session doesn’t suit everyone.

“I remember Eddie once gave me a rest on a Thursday before a Test match, he felt I looked a bit tired. And I felt I had to perform better for him because I would otherwise be letting the team down if I didn’t.

“It became a very motivating part of the psychological preparation for that game.

“A maverick is not someone who is doing their own thing to the detriment of the team. You just have to harness the individuality of that person as a coach. The people who can, they’re the ones who are attuned to what a good culture within a team can do.

“We had the most diverse group of people that you could pull together and it just worked.”

Roff scored two tries in the 2001 Super Rugby final as the Brumbies beat the Sharks 36-6

Roff scored two tries in the 2001 Super Rugby final as the Brumbies beat the Sharks 36-6

Jones sees similarities with the 2001 Brumbies side his current England side, who could claim a third Six Nations title in five years when they face Italy in their rescheduled fixture on October 31.

“It takes time to build up that cohesiveness in a team,” said Jones. “With England now, we’re moving closer towards that, which is the exciting thing for us.

“That Brumbies side, it started under Rod Macqueen for the first two years in a way. I was lucky enough to take over an established group of players, brought in some young guys and mixed it up a little bit, and the team grew over a period of time.

“And they made mistakes. The great thing is those mistakes weren’t so highlighted as they are now. We made mistakes off and on the field but were able to learn from that.

“In those final parts we put all that learning together and it was the most symbiotic relationship where the whole organisation was working together – the team, the front office – to produce this team that played a unique style of rugby.”

6:35
Watch the best of the action as the Brumbies beat the Reds to life the inaugural Super Rugby AU title

Watch the best of the action as the Brumbies beat the Reds to life the inaugural Super Rugby AU title

Jones built a formidable Brumbies side that contained legendary names such as Roff, George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and George Smith.

They lost just three games during the 2001 Super Rugby season and cantered through the playoffs, crushing the Reds and Sharks in the semi-finals and final respectively.

“You talk to any of the (Brumbies) players during that period and they’ll say Eddie Jones was the best coach they ever had,” said Roff.

“He brought individualised motivation to the team for the first time. He tried to understand what made each person tick.

“It’s really interesting that I do remember a range of different conversations, small conversations that we had, that actually helped me understand where my place was in the game or motivated me for a certain match.

“It really connected with the players at that time. I say that because we had a reasonably bright, educated senior group of players through that period. Guys like Steve Larkham, Brett Robertson and George Gregan were all students of the game.

“Eddie allowed ownership of certain aspects of the game and ways we approached it. It subsequently became a toxic word in later years – player power – but for us at that time it was player input.”

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