All is not lost for the downtrodden Wallabies, who still have a very slim chance of progressing to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. Their record thrashing at the hands of Wales last weekend had everyone saying they'd missed out on making the quarters for the first time in World Cup history.
But that hasn't actually happened yet, with Eddie Jones' side keeping their hopes alive on Monday morning (Aussie time) with a bonus-point victory over Portugal. The 34-14 win has taken the Wallabies to second place in Pool C (albeit with an extra game played than everyone else).
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The Aussies are currently on 11 points after playing all their pool games, three behind first-placed Wales and one in front of Fiji in third. It seems a very long shot, but the Wallabies will actually advance to the quarters if Portugal can pull off a shock win over Fiji by more than seven points next weekend.
Fiji and Portugal will clash at 6am next Monday (Aussie time), with the Wallabies' fate in the hands of the Portuguese. If the minnows win by more than seven, Australia will be into the quarters.
But if Fiji win they will send the Wallabies home. A Portugal win by less than seven will also knock Australia out, because Fiji will earn a bonus point and finish equal with the Aussies on 11 points. Because Fiji beat Australia earlier in the World Cup, they own the tie-breaker.
While it seems a complete long shot that World No.16 Portugal will beat the Fijians (ranked eighth), stranger things have happened at World Cups. Jones joked that he might send Fiji-born Wallabies Marika Koroibete and Suliasi Vunivalu to sabotage the Pacific islanders' preparations.
"Maybe take some kava to Fiji, I'll give Marika and Suli my credit card and get them to go to the Fiji camp with some kava," he said. Maybe that might work."
Eddie Jones laments Wallabies failings at World Cup
Jones lamented the fact his side had lost control of their own destiny due to record losses to Fiji and Wales. The 40-6 loss to Wales was the Wallabies' biggest in World Cup history.
"The disappointment is we haven't controlled our own destiny," Jones said. "In a pool stage you want to control your own destiny and we haven't done that. As I've said, I take full responsibility for that.
"We've done all we can and the (Fiji-Portugal) game will take its course - we don't control the result so I'm not going to spend too much time worrying about it. We've had our go in the World Cup and we're sitting where we are and we accept our position. If it happens that we get another chance so be it, and if it doesn't we've only got to look at ourselves."
Jones revealed the Aussie players have been given the next three days off and are free to travel around France to freshen up. They will resume training later in the week in preparation for a potential quarter-final clash with Pool D winners England on October 16 (AEDT) that may never eventuate.
"I've never experienced this before. We're anticipating we'll be in the quarter-finals so we'll see on Sunday night - Portugal played with plenty of spirit tonight so you never know," the coach said.
"We've got a program in place; we're going to have three days off and then we'll have three days of good training and we'll look to get better. We want to finish next week better than we are now. That's the aim and if we get an opportunity to do that on the field, fantastic."
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