The likes of Amazon and Netflix have brought a whole new dimension to sports documentaries, with behind-the-scenes footage giving viewers an insight to what it is truly like to be a professional athlete in various sports.
Rugby union is famous for the 1997 ‘Living With Lions’ documentary that lifted the lid on the British and Irish Lions tour – something that had continued in more recent series – while Amazon made a similar documentary in 2018 called ‘All or Nothing’ that followed the then-world champion All Blacks side. More recently, England were followed by an in-house video team at last year’s Rugby World Cup who produced the much-heralded ‘Rising Sons’ that gave a glimpse of what life was like inside the camp that Jones runs.
Further afar, Netflix have invested heavily on their sports front to deliver the Drive to Survive series that follows Formula One like never before, while Amazon will follow up their fly-on-the-wall series with Manchester City with one from Tottenham Hotspur, which will document the 2019/20 season including the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino, the appointment of Jose Mourinho and the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rugby Football Union has no plans at present to throw open the doors of Twickenham and Pennyhill Park, their exclusive training base in Bagshot, though there have been various conversations and proposals in the past and they remain open to the idea. But any such decision is likely to be a “business decision” as Jones puts it, with the big-name broadcasters willing to part with large sums of money for exclusive access.
And despite Jones being known to run a tight ship when it comes to the secrets behind his success, the Australian would have no issue with such an idea.
“Would I allow a crew into the team room? Under the right circumstances,” he said. “Because our players are quite used to that now. They don’t find it particularly difficult.
“We basically did a version of it through the RFU programme during the World Cup. The reason teams do it generally is for a business issue.
“If the RFU decide they wanted to do that, given the right circumstances surrounding how the filming would take place with the team, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”