Eddie Jones has angrily denied 'offensive' reports he interviewed for the Japan coaching job while leading the Wallabies at the World Cup. The Wallabies won't progress to the knockout stage of the Rugby World Cup for the first time in history, after suffering a record 40-6 loss to Wales on Monday morning (Aussie time).
The Aussies needed a win over Wales to have any hope of advancing out of their pool, but suffered their biggest loss ever at a World Cup, and their biggest ever against Wales. The Wallabies were only down by 10 points at 16-6 heading into half-time.
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But the Welsh blew Jones' men off the park in the second half, going on to win by a record margin against Australia. The loss means the Wallabies will exit in the group stage for the first time in Rugby World Cup history (barring an all-time collapse from Fiji). The Aussies need Fiji to lose to minnows Georgia and Portugal in their last two games and not get any bonus points.
"Aussie rugby hits rock bottom," Sean Maloney said on Stan Sport at full-time. "The Wallabies' World Cup dream has become an absolute nightmare. It's a record loss to Wales. It's a record loss at the World Cup. And for the first time in the history of the tournament, Australia will exit in the pool stages."
Wallabies fans in attendance were spotted leaving well before the final whistle. "They are letting their feelings known with their feet," Morgan Turinui said in commentary. "The context is damning. This will be the Wallabies' biggest ever loss at a World Cup. 2019 against England, they lost 40-16. That margin will be eclipsed."
Eddie Jones denies links to Japan coaching job
To make matters worse for the Wallabies, reports emerged on Sunday that Jones had conducted a 'secret' zoom interview to apply for the Japan head coaching role - during this World Cup. But the veteran coach angrily shut down those claims after the loss to Wales.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said when quizzed by reporters. "I really take umbrage at people questioning my commitment as Australia coach. I've been working non-stop since I've come in and apologise for the results. But to question my commitment to the job I think is a bit red hot."
Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh said it would be "disappointing" if he finds out the coach lied to him. "I think there's always speculation around what different coaches, different players are doing," Waugh told reporters in Lyon.
"Eddie has been fully committed to this campaign since he came to Australia nine or 10 months ago, so I think it's surprising, but you just have to take people for their word, and you trust that they're telling you the truth. I'm taking Eddie's (word) for what he said and the fact is that he's denied it ... if he has then that's something that we'll deal with at the time that becomes evident."
Waugh said he planned to follow up the reports with Jones personally. "Everyone wants to believe Rugby Australia and wants to trust Rugby Australia and so it's really important for us from an integrity point of view to live by those values and those behaviours," he said. "I would say I'm a firm believer in in taking people for their word, and I think that would be disappointing, and I think everyone would think that was be disappointing, but right now I'm not going to enter the speculation of what conversations have been had and when they were had."
Jones previously coached Japan for three years, departing after their famous victory over South Africa at the World Cup in 2015. Last week he dismissed a report from Japanese media that named him as a possible candidate as "bulls*** and gossip".
Mat Rogers lashes bombshell Eddie Jones to Japan reports
Discussing the bombshell reports, former Wallabies star Mat Rogers told Stan Sport: "It is pretty poor form. Coaching is a cut-throat world but I certainly don't agree with him doing that before the World Cup. It's not ideal news to break less than 24 hours out from probably the most important match in Australian Rugby World Cup history.
"We're a long way off the pace as a nation and it's got very little to do with the last 12 weeks of Eddie as coach. It's got more to do with the last 20 years than the last 12 weeks. But they thought they had Eddie for the next five years."
This is truly astonishing, given the upheaval required to bring him home. Great story by one of the reporters who was told by Jones to ‘give yourselves uppercuts’ in airport rant… https://t.co/Nz9MWwilLT
— Chris Foy (@FoyChris) September 24, 2023
I am sick of the Eddie show, no respect for fans, media or the position he is currently employed in. My friend and I bought tickets for this RWC in our final year of university and have been planning this trip for months however, all this drama has really dampened our excitement
— will Tearle (@TearleWill) September 24, 2023
Michael Hooper has been almost inarguably the best role model in Australian sport this century.
Eddie Jones punted him without justification, then blew up the Wallabies.
Take the money in Japan, Eddie.
Just piss off. https://t.co/LLXMsKtDbj
— Will Kingston (@WillKingston) September 24, 2023
Whoever sacked Dave Rennie and employed Eddie Jones at the @wallabies needs to walk and take Eddie with him!
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) September 24, 2023
You owe us an apology. This is the worst Aussie side I’ve ever seen. Your disrespect for our experienced players hurts.
Your disrespect to the fans that travelled to France to watch us play hurts.
I’ve lost all respect for you, and I loved you.#AUSvWAL #RWC23
— Harrison Dale (@harrisondale88) September 24, 2023
If Australia are knocked out of the RWC today and reports are true that Eddie Jones interviewed for the Japan position weeks ago… anyone involved in hiring him and sacking Rennie needs to be sacked. Awful bit of admin.
— Andy Rowe (@AndyRoweOnline) September 24, 2023
Jones was signed by Rugby Australia in January, with his contract going through to the next World Cup in Australia in 2027. Kiwi coach Dave Rennie was unceremoniously dumped to make way for Jones, whose results have been atrocious ever since.
Jones has since overhauled the Wallabies team, dumping veteran players including long-time skipper Michael Hooper in favour of young players with an eye to the future. The team has struggled for wins under Jones' coaching, but Waugh said they remained committed to the ex-England boss.
"We're committed to Eddie. We have seen what he's done historically with international teams," Waugh said. "I think with England, he was 73 per cent (win record), he's coached to World Cup finals and and has been arguably one of the most successful international coaches for a long period of time. So we were excited to have Eddie nine months ago and we still believe in what he will drive through culture and team performance."
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