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‘I can deal with that’: Eddie Jones laughs off ‘unpopular’ crowd reaction

By Finn Morton
Eddie Jones, Head Coach of Australia, exits the tunnel prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Australia and Georgia at Stade de France on September 09, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

For the second night in a row, more than 75,000 rugby supporters brought a breathtaking level of passion, energy and noise to Stade de France for a Rugby World Cup clash.

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Hosts France defeated the All Blacks in the tournament opener, and thousands were back at the Parisian venue less than 24 hours later for a Pool C clash between Australia and Georgia.

The atmosphere at both World Cup matches was simply incredible. Fans were singing and chanting well before the opening whistle, and their vibrancy carried on deep into the night.

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But from the moment the tournament began with a Beauden Barrett kick-off at 9.18 pm on Friday, fans were seemingly engulfed by the occasion. They cheered and didn’t boo – well until Eddie arrived.

Well-known rugby guru Eddie Jones was shown on the big screen a few times during the Wallabies’ win, and clearly, the coach holds a “consistently unpopular” reputation amongst fans.

Fans booed and whistled every time Jones was shown on the big screen, but the Australian couldn’t help but laugh it off after the match.

“Obviously I’m not popular, mate, at least it’s consistent,” Jones told reporters on Saturday.

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“You either want to be popular or unpopular, so at least I’m consistently unpopular. I can deal with that.”

The Wallabies got off to a perfect start on the sport’s biggest stage with centre Jordan Petaia placing the ball down for the opening try of the Test after just two minutes.

Points Flow Chart

Australia win +20
Time in lead
81
Mins in lead
0
100%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
43%
Possession Last 10 min
57%
0
Points Last 10 min
7

Petaia was a man on a mission during the early exchanges, with the utility setting up wing Mark Nawaqanitawase for a score shortly after with a brilliant one-handed offload.

The Wallabies were very much in control by half-time, and Georgia wing Mirian Modebadze had just been sent to the sin bin too which didn’t help their cause of a comeback.

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Georgia showed mere glimpses of brilliance throughout the 80 minutes, but the result was never really in doubt as the Wallabies secured their first win since November.

“When you’ve got a young team, haven’t been doing well and getting criticised, you can go into your shell a little bit,” Jones said on the field.

“I thought they came out in the first half and put a conclusive performance together.”

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Utiku Old Boy 306 days ago

Wallabies starting to show some cohesion but would need to be a lot more polished to take out a top 4 team. Good shift against Georgia but it was Georgia. Putting Donaldson in was a clever call and most pundits would not have seen it being so successful. EJ will bask in that for a while!

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