Jones also indicated he’ll lean towards players from the form franchises, and the Waratahs are struggling with just one win from five games. Gordon’s selection fortunes – and the Waratahs’ whole season – may rest on the outcome of the crunch clash at GIO Stadium.
“I have definitely been keeping an eye on both of them. Ryan has been a handy player for a decent amount of time now, it is just probably the exposure,” Gordon said.
“He has got more game time this year so people have been able to watch him. But he has always been a good player. I am interested to see who they name this weekend. We are prepared for both. Whitey has been around for a long time and been consistently very good, and Ryan is playing some great footy.”
Coaches have gambled on two halfbacks in a World Cup squad in the past but given it is a specialist role, Jones is likely to take three to this year’s World Cup, with squad sizes increasing from 31 to 34. At least one of the quartet will miss out, though.
“I am not sure how the year is going to look,” Gordon said.
“Essentially, it is important that I start to play some consistent rugby at the Waratahs and we start getting some results. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about making squads and all that but in 2019 I did make the mistake of prioritising trying to make that World Cup squad, and didn’t play well that year and struggled. So first and foremost, the Waratahs is big at the moment, in my mind.”
Jones’ arrival forced some anxious decisions for Wallabies players like Gordon coming off contract this year. In a year that usually leads to a post-World Cup exodus from Australia, the lure of the British and Irish Lions in 2025 has made most keen to re-sign. But many have had to make a call with no certainty about whether Jones intends to pick them or leave them in the wilderness.
Gordon said he considered an overseas shift but wanted to stay on for another two years with the Waratahs and, if picked, Australia.
“I had started discussions when Dave Rennie was still here, late last year, and I guess it was a bit of a nerve-racking time, seeing if Eddie wanted to continue that,” Gordon said.
“There were a few players who went, ‘Ooh, I don’t know how he is going to view me as a player’ and stuff like that. Natural reactions. But we got that sorted pretty quickly after.
“I made it pretty clear to the Waratahs that I wanted to stay … growing up in NSW and supporting the Tahs, and now being captain, it’s a club I feel very strongly about.
“I am thrilled to be staying for another two years and it is an exciting time for rugby.”
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