‘What code war?’: Wallabies turn to NRL Immortal in surprise move as World Cup prep ramps up

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has long been an admirer of the NRL and Immortal Andrew Johns and so jumped at the chance to get him involved at training on Friday.

Johns spent time working with the Wallabies playmakers and Jones, who used the rugby league legend when he was coach of England and even tried to sign him as an assistant coach in 2016, said Johns had knowledge few players had.

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“We’ve known Andrew a long time and his ability to reach the nuances of first receiver play is second to none,” Jones said, happy to engage with a code seen as their rival.

“That’s the great thing about sport in Australia isn’t it? We’ve got this competitive tension but we also have great co-operation.

“It’s not something we planned but when there’s an opportunity to mix we will. If we feel there’s someone from rugby league that can help us, I certainly don’t have any discrimination against the sport.”

Jones thinks so highly of Johns he wanted him involved with his England team but couldn’t get the deal over the line

“We had him mate, but the board wouldn‘t approve the contract,” Jones said on his pursuit of Johns.

“They‘ve got the statue up of him in the Immortals.”

NRL legend Andrew Johns offers a helping hand at Wallabies training. Picture: Julius Dimataga/RugbyAU MediaSource: Supplied

Jones is at the business end of picking his squad for two Tests against first South Africa and then Argentina for the Rugby Championship, crucial lead-ins to the World Cup in France.

He’ll cull the squad that has been training in Sydney this week to 33 players on Sunday, a task he conceded would be “difficult”.

“You’ve got 45 players competing for 33 spots, that’s the job ahead. I’ve always got 33 in mind,” he said.

“Some people rise above the water level, some people drop down and we’ll make an assessment.”

Johns wasn’t the only visitor to training this week, with former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer also casting his eye over the squad and offering advice.

“Bob came in on Monday to have a look,” Jones said.

“Run straight, short passes. Good consistent messages and he’s right.”

The Wallabies will play the Springboks in South Africa on July 9.

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