Eddie Jones: I learned more from Beauden Barrett than he did from me

Beauden Barrett’s attitude defies his increasing years.

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Beauden Barrett’s attitude defies his increasing years.

Eddie Jones reckons he learned more from Beauden Barrett than the All Black superstar did from him in their controversial connection in Japanese club rugby.

England coach Jones was heavily criticised for taking up a brief consultancy gig with Barrett’s Suntory Goliath last April on the back of a poor Six Nations campaign where his team finished fifth.

Jones said it was important to keep refreshing himself and the chance to work with double world player of the year Barrett in Japan only increased his desire to head to Suntory despite the howls of disapproval back in England from the likes of Sir Clive Woodward and rugby media figures.


Beauden Barrett reveals what’s behind his recent form – “I still feel young, energetic and driven to be my best.”

Jones has opened up on the matter in his new book Leadership: Lessons from my life in rugby.

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The Telegraph in Britain has been running extracts and this latest one reveals the admiration Jones has for Barrett and the benefits coaches can get from working with top players.

“I love rugby and I love coaching. And so I am going to take any opportunity I get to practise coaching in my spare time,” Jones said in his book.

England coach Eddie Jones believes he learned valuable lessons from Beauden Barrett that will help his coaching.

Ian Walton/AP

England coach Eddie Jones believes he learned valuable lessons from Beauden Barrett that will help his coaching.

“I love going back to Suntory in Japan and I love the 10-day spells I have to refresh myself by doing nothing else but practise my coaching with a group of players who are always eager to work and to learn. I learn even more from them at these practice sessions – especially when the chance arises to work with Beauden Barrett.

“A Bob Dwyer phrase still rings in my head today. He said: ‘The best coaches in the world are the best players.’ He meant that if you want to become a better coach, learn from the best players. Every time I talk to a leading player, I learn more from them than they learn from me.

“In England, there has been much criticism of me coaching Suntory, and working with Beauden. But for me the best thing is that Beauden, one of the world’s great rugby players, is comfortable enough in himself, as I am in myself, to talk about the game so openly.

Beauden Barrett helped the Suntory Sungoliath to the Japan club final.

Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

Beauden Barrett helped the Suntory Sungoliath to the Japan club final.

“We are not trying to take anything away from each other. We’re trying to help each other and to just share our love of the game. Winning matters hugely, but I want the game of rugby to grow and to be truly great.

“Some coaches and leaders prefer to run their lives in a more secretive way. But I have found that if you are open, and you are sharing then, generally, you get more back than you give. I wouldn’t have it any other way because, to me, it’s stimulating and refreshing and rewarding.”

Jones said there were lessons to be learned from Barrett’s dedication, work ethic and lack of ego. The 30-year-old recently logged his 100th test for the All Blacks and there is no end in sight for the gifted playmaker.

“When working with Beauden, I have learnt more about his humility and the way he keeps working at his game. He has twice been the World Rugby’s player of the year but, with Suntory, which is supposedly meant to be an easy gig for him, he comes out every morning for training with the vim and enthusiasm of an 18-year-old,” Jones wrote.

“One week, even when there was no game on the weekend, and he had a crooked neck and had to wear a medical bib, Beauden was at it with so much purpose and intent. He loves practising and training and playing, and I savour that undying passion that surges through him.”

Jones felt Barrett’s attitude could be helpful to players in Britain and that was what he would be emphasisng.

“I have spoken about Beauden to my players in England. Over here, considering the length of the season and the environment, some players tend to go through the motions in training. But you need to find a way to retain that boyish love and enthusiasm for the game.”

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