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Eddie Jones in no doubt Australia will bounce back from Fiji loss and beat Wales

22 Sep 2023 4 minute read
Australia head coach Eddie Jones. Photo Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Eddie Jones says he has “no doubt” that Australia will beat Wales in Sunday’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash.

The Wallabies know that a loss in Lyon would effectively dash their hopes of securing a quarter-final place.

They have never made a pool-stage exit in nine previous World Cup campaigns, but it is now a realistic prospect following defeat against Pool C rivals Fiji last weekend.

Wallabies head coach and former England chief Jones has had to endure fierce criticism from a number of former Australia internationals, particularly after the Fiji loss.

He remains defiant, though, as Australia tackle opponents buoyant on the back of successive bonus-point victories over Fiji and Portugal.

“I’ve let Australian rugby down. I haven’t done the job I was brought in to do. I was brought in to turn it around, so I feel that responsibility,” Jones said.

“Last week was a difficult game for us, and we have bounced back really well and prepared really well for this game. So we will go out there and give it a red-hot go.

“The way the team has prepared, the way they’ve come together, I’ve got no doubt we will win on Sunday. But if we don’t, then sometimes you have got to do the work.

“At the end of the World Cup there will be a review. And given the results we’ve had then maybe Australian Rugby doesn’t want to keep me. That is the reality of the job I live in and I understand that.

“I don’t know of any team that you can come in and blow magic over. You have got to go through a process and you have got to find out what’s wrong with the team and then you have got to try to address those problems.”

Healthy rivalry

Sunday’s game pitches Jones against Wales boss Warren Gatland, continuing a healthy rivalry that has seen them in opposite corners many times during their coaching careers.

“I have always got on well with Warren,” Jones added. “We would usually have a curry together when we were coaching in the Six Nations.

“But it is a little bit different out here. We are in the middle of nowhere, so it is hard to find where you can get a curry.

“He brought some young players in, and now has gone back to the senior players. It has gone back to a more Gatland style of rugby.

“(Wayne) Pivac (Gatland’s predecessor) wanted to play that more traditional side-to-side style, whereas Warren plays a more pragmatic style with high kicking and high contest.”

Jones, who has made three changes to his line-up against Wales, including a start at fly-half for Ben Donaldson and Andrew Kellaway featuring in the full-back role, is relishing Australia’s backs-to-the-wall status.

“When you coach, you make a choice to put yourself in these positions. If I didn’t want to put myself in these positions, I could be teaching,” he said.

“I could have a nice life and get up every morning, the wife puts the packed lunch in the bag, I put a shirt and tie on, know I’m going to teach six periods, come home, wash the dog, clean the car, watch Channel 7 or ABC news and then get the packed lunch ready for the next day.

“I could have done that, mate, but I made a choice to coach.

“We’ve got 10 times’ more people here than we normally do for an Australian press conference because people smell blood. That makes it even more exciting.”

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