Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World

Latest Feature

'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

Eddie Jones’ assessment of ‘young 10’ Carter Gordon after Fiji defeat

By Finn Morton
Carter Gordon of Australia runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Isoa Nasilasila and Simione Kuruvoli of Fiji during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Australia and Fiji at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on September 17, 2023 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones picked “a young team” for the Rugby World Cup, and there may be no player who has borne the responsibility of the side’s inexperience than Carter Gordon.


Gordon, 22, debuted in Wallaby gold during The Rugby Championship and went on to start both Bledisloe Cup Tests against the All Blacks. But the biggest surprise was yet to come.

Coach Jones decided to omit veteran Quade Cooper from the Wallabies’ World Cup squad, and instead picked young Gordon as the only Australian listed as a flyhalf in the 33-man group.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

But the playmaker has struggled at Test level, and that includes Australia’s two World Cup matches so far. Gordon was replaced about 10 minutes into the second half of Sunday night’s loss to Fiji.

Gordon conceded a few turnovers within the first 30 minutes of the clash, and also failed to complete a tackle out of two attempts. The first half an hour summed up Gordon’s tough night in Saint-Etienne.

But coach Jones has backed the flyhalf to bounce back, just as he did after Gordon’s tough starting debut at the world-famous MCG in July.

“We needed to get some moment in the game. I thought (Issak Fines-Leleiwasa) Fines did that, (Ben) Donaldson at 10 did that, Mark (Nawaqanitawase) going to 15 did that, and Suli (Vunivalu) scored us a try that put us back into the game,” Jones told reporters on Sunday.


“I thought they were positive changes that we made.

“Carter is a young 10, he’s going to have those days mate. I think I’ve said this before, he’s going to have those days but he’ll bounce back, he’s a good young player.

“We’ve gone with a young team. I’ve got no regrets at all,” Jones added. “We’ve building a team for the future and we’re going to go through some pain, and some of the younger players are going go through some pain.

“That’s generally how you have an apprenticeship. (Carter) He’s got plenty of support.’

The Wallabies showed signs of improvement during the final quarter of the Test, but in truth, the match was already all but lost.


Fiji had raced out to a commanding 22-8 lead with about 15 minutes to play, and time waits for no man. The clock beat the Wallabies as the Flying Fijians held firm in defence for a historic win.

That victory – which was Fiji’s first win over Australia since 1954 – saw Jones’ Wallabies fall to an undesirable record of one win from seven Tests this year.

The result leaves the men in gold on the brink of what would be the Wallabies’ worst-ever record at a World Cup. If Australia fails to beat Wales in Lyon next weekend, they won’t make the quarter-finals.

“I’ve made the decision to go for a young team and if that’s the wrong decision then I’ll be held accountable for that.


“I think Australian rugby needs to move on to a younger team and I’m prepared to experience some pain to through it; to leave Australia with a team that’s capable of doing really well at a World Cup.

“That’s not to say that we can’t do that. We’ve had a bit of a setback today but that’s all part of being in a World Cup.

“I do remember South Africa lost a game and won the World Cup so funnier things have happened.”


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING France give unbelievable Antoine Dupont fitness update France give unbelievable Antoine Dupont fitness update