Wallabies coach Eddie Jones backs push for new Canberra stadium, ‘orange cards’ in Rugby World Cup

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has thrown his support behind the push for a new Canberra stadium, saying it would allow the national capital to seriously compete for some of the biggest sporting events in the country.

Jones — who called Canberra home when he coached the Brumbies to their first Super Rugby title in 2001 — said he would like to see the facility in the heart of the city, instead of the current stadium site in Bruce.

“You’d always love to have your stadium in the city,” Jones said, during an interview with the ABC.

“When the stadium is in the city, it creates a whole [atmosphere] about the games and about the sport that night; people are in the pubs.”

Jones previously took the Wallabies to the World Cup final as coach in 2003, was an advisor to South Africa when it won the tournament in 2007, and then led England to the final in 2019.

He watched the Brumbies defeat Fijian Drua 43 points to 28 on Friday night in Canberra, as part of his preparation to coach Australia in the 2023 tournament in France.

Canberra stadium, now 45 years old, is among the oldest in the country.(ABC News: Brett McKay)

Jones said he would like to see international rugby played in Canberra more often, particularly given the dominant role the Brumbies play in the Australian rugby system.

However, he warned there was stiff competition from other capital, and even regional, cities.

“I was just up in Townsville four or five weeks ago and the stadium up there is fantastic,” he said.

“You need that to attract big games. That’s the standard you need. 

“For Canberra to move towards a modern stadium would be a fantastic step for the city.”

David Pocock is among the most vocal advocates for a new stadium in the centre of Canberra and has repeatedly said the capital region deserved a greater slice of Australia’s federal infrastructure spend.

Jones ‘100 per cent’ supportive of ‘orange cards’ in World Cup

Meanwhile, Jones is watching as much rugby as he can ahead of the World Cup.

He said he had been impressed by the Brumbies this season and had backed the inclusion of a new type of sanction for foul play, an “orange card”.

Under the proposal — which rugby officials are considering including at the World Cup — referees could be given the option of showing a yellow card to send a player off for 10 minutes, which can then be reviewed and upgraded to a red by TV match officials.

The move is designed to speed up the game by reducing replays and minimising contentious red cards, particularly those involving contact with a player’s head.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Jones said.

“We want to minimise head contact but, sometimes, it is accidental. I think we need to take those unintentional ones out of the game and they should be the orange cards.”

A Wallabies player wearing headgear is shown a yellow card from the referee at the Rugby World Cup.

Australia’s Adam Coleman is shown a yellow card during a 2019 Rugby World Cup game against Uruguay.(Reuters: Peter Cziborra)

He is confident the Wallabies will be competitive in France, arguing their performance is likely to make a big difference to the support rugby receives for the next few years.

Attendance at some super rugby games in Australia is lower than the sport’s administrators would like.

“Australians like winners, like beating New Zealand,” Jones said.

“If the Wallabies do well, then that will flow through to the super rugby sides, like the Brumbies here, and get more people interested and out at games watching.”

Source: abc.net.au

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