Eddie Jones has apologised for Australia's Rugby World Cup nightmare after Sonny Bill Williams delivered a brutal reality check to the Wallabies coach after the embarrassing 40-6 loss to Wales. The Wallabies will most likely exit the World Cup at the group stage with Fiji needing to lose both games against Georgia and Portugal without picking up a bonus point.
Fans around Australia will be feeling low after the Wallabies offered up little resistance in the group stages and the pressure is on Jones who has now only won one of his eight games in charge of the squad. Former Wallabies players have been left dismayed at how far the Wallabies have fallen in recent years with the team falling to World No.9.
And even rivals are feeling for the Wallabies. All Blacks great Williams said he felt the team had 'lost belief' as Australia suffered its biggest ever World Cup loss. "That second-half team. They looked like a team that had just lost belief. They didn't believe themselves...it was really disappointing," he said on Stan Sport.
Williams then took aim at Jones for his selections. "I feel for these boys, for the fans. I'm going to keep it real on here. They were up against it right from the start. Questions need to be asked from selections, to the mind games that Eddie Jones has been playing with these kids, these guys. There is a guy in the studio back home who should be here right now," Williams said of Michael Hooper, who wasn't selected for the World Cup.
Plenty was made on the weekend after reports alleged Jones held a meeting with Japan Rugby right before the World Cup. When the reports were put to him after the brutal 40-6 loss, Jones was fuming.
“I take umbrage to people questioning my commitment to the Australia job," Jones said. “My coaching hasn’t been good enough. I don’t need to worry about the future; just the Portuguese game. I have a contract, and at the end of the World Cup my performance will be reviewed, and at the minute it’s not good enough."
Jones said the press conference question went too far and he would excuse himself from the room if he was going to be pressed on his commitment to Australian rugby. However, Williams was critical of Jones in his post-match analysis of the Wallabies.
"40-6 was really embarrassing. I feel for these kids...If I’m a player, from a player’s point of view – I’m not following a guy that’s sitting, having a meeting with another national team potentially looking for another job days before you’re hopping on the plane to come to this World Cup. That’s just my opinion," Williams said of the report.
I may have never been a wallaby and I might be speaking out of line here, but since working in this space for a while now I have grown to really love my role and want the best for the players, the passionate supporters and the game within Australia. There’s some really class men… https://t.co/5iZtIl2VHh
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) September 24, 2023
Wallabies in ugly World Cup fallout
The criticism and disappointment for the Wallabies has been swift after the disaster at the World Cup. "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."
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