Rugby news: Eddie Jones eyes off poaching NRL stars to join Wallabies, Rugby World Cup 2023

Watch out NRL teams, Eddie Jones is on the hunt.

The recently unveiled next coach of the Wallabies is returning as the man in charge 18 years after his last tenure as head coach of our national side.

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Jones tenure officially commences on January 29 after Rugby Australia made the bombshell decision to axe Dave Rennie eight months out from the World Cup.

He returns to the role he had from 2001-2005 when he took Australia to the 2003 World Cup final where they lost to England in extra time.

The decision to sign Jones on a five-year deal comes after his successful stint as England coach that came to an end in December after he registered a win rate of 73 per cent.

But now the mastermind coach is turning his attention to rugby league and poaching some of the NRL’s biggest stars.

He kept his cards close to his chest, but let it be known he was chasing some of the games big names.

“We always want to develop players in rugby first,” Jones said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

“That’s the No. 1 priority. No. 2 is to get back players who were lost initially from rugby to rugby league due to the financial inducements that league are able to give the players.

“We want to get players back who are lost. Thirdly, at the right time, is there an opportunity to secure some talent we don’t have in rugby from league?

“I think there is a strategic plan that needs to be put in place but the first thing is to retain the talent we do have.

“There’s three [NRL targets] that come to mind … All were Australian schoolboys and have done well in the NRL. I’m sure the allure of playing in a home Rugby World Cup might be something to attract them back.”

Joseph Sua’ali’i is the clear number one target for the Wallabies with the former rugby player holding all the keys to make the high-profile switch.

Others expected to be chased by Jones and RA include Parramatta Eels centre Will Penisini, Manly flyer Tolu Koula and Melbourne Storm enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona, according to the Courier Mail.

Rugby Australia have made their intentions clear when it comes to the 19-year-old Sua’ali’i and their hopes of luring him away from the NRL.

The young Sydney Roosters star is expected to be offered a monstrous five-year, $10 million offer to make the switch and become a member of the Wallabies.

Pensini played alongside Sua’ali’i at The Kings School in Parramatta where they went undefeated before signing with the NRL.

The Eels centre is out of contract at the end of the 2023 season as is Storm star Asofa-Solomona.

Asofa-Solomona previously met with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie about switching codes when his NRL career hung in the balance.

The enforcer’s 2021 season appeared over due to his anti-vaccination stance, but the issue was cleared up and he returned to the Storm.

It wouldn’t be the first raid Jones has had on the NRL after poaching a trio of stars in the early 2000s.

Jones masterminded the poaching of Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuiqiri and Mat Rogers to join the Wallabies. Moves which helped them reach the 2003 World Cup final.

In August last year it was reported the RA hit list included the likes of Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Matt Burton.

Jones’ push to rejuvenate the Wallabies comes ahead of the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour in Australia and the 2027 World Cup.

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