Eales backing Wallabies form revival ahead of Lions tour

Mon, Mar 18, 2024, 5:28 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies legend John Eales backs coach Joe Schmidt to turn aroud the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images
Wallabies legend John Eales backs coach Joe Schmidt to turn aroud the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies legend John Eales believes the side can take down the British and Irish Lions ahead of next year's tour.

Tickets went on sale for the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour in Australia, set to kick off with tour games on June 28 before the opening Test on July 19.

Click here to purchase tickets for the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour! 

All four nations currently sit ahead of the Wallabies on the World Rugby Rankings after their early World Cup exit.

However, Eales is confident they can turn it around when they arrive on Australian shores in 15 months.

“I think you notice more and more about sport is while at times, and score-lines may indicate you’re a fair way away from winning, it’s often closer than what you think," he said to reporters.

“One of the great benefits I’ve seen from the start of Super Rugby this year, (is) there’s a lot of competitiveness among the Australian teams, probably more so than there was maybe this time last year.

“With a full year under Joe getting used to the way he wants to play the game, the discipline he will have in the structures that he will introduce to the team, I think there’s no doubt we’ll be competitive.

“There’s been some Rugby that’s been great to watch, some very high-quality teams so the Wallabies can get there and be very competitive and I believe can win the series, it’ll be an amazing series.”

Eales captained the Wallabies to their last tour win in 2001, which he admits was pivotal in extending his legendary career.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for all players. It comes around slightly more frequently than Halley's Comet but from a rugby perspective, it is something that everyone gets very excited about," he believes.

"We've got this unique opportunity where four countries that are usually so much against each other coming together and playing against your national team...I remember really clearly watching that (1989) series and being at the game at Ballymore but also watching the game in Sydney from Brisbane.

"At the end of my career, it's really the reason I played one extra year was to get a go against the Lions. It's for most people, I think other than George Smith and maybe a couple of others, It is a once in a career opportunity every 12 years. Getting the opportunity to play that series very much kept me playing that one extra year.

"I know for the guys that will get the opportunity next year, it will be something they're definitely looking forward to and desperate to be a part of."

After a turbulent season, Eales is pleased with the stability RA CEO Phil Waugh and Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt bring as they build towards July's opening Test.

“As a supporter, you want to see stability and I think everyone was disappointed with the lack of stability last year," he added.

“…I think Phil brings a lot of passion and experience into the role. He’s a smart guy with Rugby history and pedigree so I’ve always been a believer that whoever’s in the chair you back them and give them the full support.”

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