Robbie Deans (AFP)
Wellington - Former Australia coach Alan Jones said incumbent Robbie Deans was out of his depth Thursday, claiming the best way he could improve the Wallabies was to shut up and stay at home in bed.
Jones, who was in charge of the Wallabies from 1984-87, labelled Deans a "provincial coach" who had squandered the playing talent at his disposal, resulting in a gulf in class with arch-rivals the All Blacks.
Speaking before Saturday's second Bledisloe Test between Australia and New Zealand, Jones laid the blame for the Wallabies' recent failures squarely on Deans, saying "our team is badly coached, there's no other way of putting it". "Sometimes you're better off being not coached than badly coached," he told New Zealand's LiveSPORT in an interview from Sydney.
"The whole system here is a failure and the players are suffering... basically, at this level, he's not up to it."
Australia's last victory at Auckland's Eden Park, the venue for Saturday's match, came in 1986, when Jones was at the helm.
He said success was built on a stable line-up, criticising Deans for constantly tinkering with Australia's combinations since his appointment in 2007 and overloading his players with instructions.
He also accused Deans of stifling the Wallabies' traditional attacking flair and suggested Australia's players were unhappy with Deans' tactics.
"Many of the boys in the Australian team believe the preoccupation is with trying to avoid defeat rather than trying to secure victory," he said.
"You can't win a game of football without the football. What do we do? We kick it away."
Asked what advice he would give Deans, Jones replied: "Put them on the paddock and let them organise it... shut up and stay at home in bed."
Jones, who is now a prominent talkback radio host in Sydney, also took issue with Deans' nationality, arguing a New Zealander should never have been put in charge of the Wallabies.
"Who the hell invited a New Zealander to coach Australia? That's ridiculous," he said.
He said Deans' lack of success with Australia showed his record of five Super rugby titles with the Canterbury Crusaders was due more to the team's All Black-studded line-up than coaching talent.
"Some people are provincial coaches and that's fine. On the other hand, when he coached Canterbury he had most of the All Blacks in his side... you can quite clearly see there was more to it than just the bloke in charge."