Jones keeps same 22 for Tri Nations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones keeps same 22 for Tri Nations

By Jim Morton 18/08/2004 10:16:19 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones rates the nail-biting 2004 Tri Nations as the best and toughest series in the tournament's nine-year history.

The closeness of each of the five matches to date and evenness of the sides justifies Jones' call leading into Saturday's tournament "final" in Durban.

As expected the Wallabies named an unchanged team for the winners-take-all clash against the Springboks at Kings Park.

Jones, keeping the same twenty two who beat New Zealand 23-18 eleven days ago, denied Australia should be regarded as the No.1 team in world rugby if it beats South Africa to claim its first Tri Nations title in three years.

He believed the All Blacks are more deserving of the mantle despite being bundled out of series contention by the Boks last Saturday.

"That gives you an indication that this year's Tri Nations is of the highest standard in terms of general play of all three teams," said Jones.

"I think it's because all the teams are so even.

"Probably New Zealand were disappointing in the last game but you take that performance out and everyone has played well in their games even if they have lost."

It is certainly the closest competition on record, save possibly the 2001 series when Australia took the trophy despite only winning two of its four matches, plus a draw.

Unlike all other series there has been an absence of a single blow-out, with all clashes being decided in the last five minutes.

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