England head coach Eddie Jones has admitted to cheating - suggesting he went to great lengths to spy on rival teams while in charge of the Wallabies.

The controversial Australian revealed he would even go as far as having senior members of his coaching staff disguise themselves in an effort to remain undetected but he insists he hasn't spied on opposition teams for over a decade as it has "become a waste of time".

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Jones responded to the public outcry following Leeds United football manager Marcelo Bielsa's shock revelation that he spied on rivals in the Championship - the second-tier of English football.

Bielsa, one of the world's most famous and respected coaches, last week admitted to sending an intern from his club to watch an opponent's training session before a game.


The 63-year-old Argentine said he'd carried out this practice throughout his career and didn't see the problem with it.

Bielsa and Leeds are being investigated by the English Football Association as well as the English Football League, which governs the professional leagues below the Premier League, where Bielsa is striving to return his club after a 15-year absence.

"He [Bielsa] was telling everyone what everyone does," Jones, who coached the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005, told the Guardian.

"Fifteen years ago, we used to send people out in costumes to watch training – it used to be part of the pre-match brief then. I can remember sending a coach who is now in a very senior position dressed like a swagman to watch one team train and he got chased out of there.

Eddie Jones coached the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005. Photo / Getty
Eddie Jones coached the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005. Photo / Getty

"You do not need to do it now because you see everything now in a game. I have been coaching for 20 years and it has always been going on but I can say with a hand on my heart, we don't do it any more. We don't see the value of it because we can glean most of the stuff from games now."

The 58-year-old claims to have recently been on the receiving end.

"I was having a coffee with [assistant] Steve Borthwick in South Africa and a bloke comes out with a camera and starts trying to take photos of all our notes," Jones said.

"You can be too obsessed about it, just do what you can to protect what is important."


Jones admitted, however, that spying could be an issue at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, as some training grounds are surrounded by high-rise buildings.

He also had a thinly-veiled dig at the All Blacks, who discovered a listening device secreted in a chair in the team's meeting room in a Sydney hotel on the eve of a test against the Wallabies in 2016.

Although the All Blacks never accused Australia or the Wallabies of any wrongdoing, the incident soured relations between the team following speculation on social media.

"We will have the security we need, but I don't want to get to the extent where we go to the team room and we're putting Blu Tack on the keyhole or looking under seats for tape recorders. It creates a sense of paranoia," Jones said.