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Three years ago, Eddie Jones passed away during the 2019 World Cup, when his former mentor and great Randwick great Jeff Sayle passed away.

Jones was desperate to leave the race for a day to attend the funeral. Finally, the England manager realized that he could not leave when he led his country to the World Cup final.

But on Tuesday night, at a private function at Coogee Surf Club, Jones was given the “surprise” of his life when he was presented with his former Randwick jersey.

Jones didn’t know the jersey was sitting at Sayle’s house.

After his induction into Randwick Hall last year, the club honored Jones with a box in his shirt.

“Pretty special, mate, his bloodshot eyes filled with tears,” Jones told foxsports.com.au.

“That was very thoughtful.”

Needing a minute to collect his thoughts, Jones replied that the presentation was “very unique” and that he was “very surprised” by the gesture.

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Eddie Jones has been presented with his old Randwick shirt as well as the club's latest shirt.  Photo credit: Peter Meagher
Eddie Jones has been presented with his old Randwick shirt as well as the club’s latest shirt. Photo credit: Peter MeagherSource: Submitted
Eddie Jones with fellow Randwick and Wallabies legend Simon Poidevin. Photo credit: Peter MeagherSource: Submitted

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World Cup winner and Jones’ former Randwick teammate Simon Poidevin delivered the presentation.

The former back-rower said Tuesday’s function was an opportunity to pay tribute to rugby’s greatest characters.

“It was an opportunity for a lot of players from the era and the players who played with the All Blacks in 1988 to come along with Eddie, Life members, all our sponsors and a lot of players who just know what he’s done,” he said.

“We dug up an old jumper that was at Jeff Sayle’s house – God rest his soul – and it was all cleaned up and there he had his arm cut off and it was presented to him last night. His jumpers were from the era and that was presented to him.

This guy played with the club from 1981 to 1992 and was the best and fairest player in 1982. You look at Randwick’s roster at the club in that time, that’s an amazing achievement for a little jockey-sized whore. Matraville High in 1982 to be the best and fairest.

Eddie Jones (ball) tackles Mali players in a first-class match at Kuji Oval in 1984. Photo by Anthony Waite. Historic Rugby Union A/CtSource: News Corp Australia
Jones pays an emotional tribute to Sale during the 2019 World Cup. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Source Fate-Getty Images

Jones’ lifelong friend Glenn Ella was among those in attendance.

Ella, whose brother Mark is one of two players, along with Edgar Mobbs, included in Saturday’s cup match between the Wallabies and England at the SCG said: “It was a great meeting”.

“We had a few drinks, told a few stories and gave him a few things. Then we went out to dinner.

“It was crazy, Jeffrey Sayle. He kept everything.

On Thursday, Jones headed to Randwick training at Latham Park. It comes after meeting local Randwick players, including Poidevin’s son Christian, during England training sessions at Coogee Oval earlier in the week.

England coach Eddie Jones talks to former Wallaby Glenn Ellan before the England rugby team captain’s run at Coogee Oval on July 15, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)Source Fate-Getty Images

Poidevin says Jones is one of rugby’s greats.

“People think about his achievements but he struggled through adversity and rebuilt and went again,” he said.

“You look at the Queensland Reds era, that was a bit of a disaster. But he gets up and goes again and learns his lesson. He had a terrible experience in the Saracens.

But look at his history with the Brumbies, Australia, then South Africa and Japan and now England, man, there are some big successes there but he’s come back from big failures.

He has done for rugby what no one else has done at the international level.

A.D. What he did for Japan in 2015, people will always remember as one of rugby’s greatest games. And it’s done with such precision and style and it’s all incredibly hard, coming from taxing work and only the Japanese mentality can withstand the training system(n) that Eddie taught them, but he did.

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