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Rugby Australia say Eddie Jones' job as Wallabies head coach is safe

By AAP
Eddie Jones' plan to rip up the Wallaby squad has backfired spectacularly (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

While describing the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign as “bitterly disappointing”, Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh believes axing embattled coach Eddie Jones isn’t the answer.

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The Wallabies are in World Cup limbo after beating Portugal in their last pool match in Saint-Etienne, now relying on the same side stopping Fiji from earning a bonus point in the final game next Sunday.

If not, Fiji will join Wales in advancing to the quarter-finals with Australia heading home after the pool stage for the first time in tournament history.

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Waugh said the performance of the Wallabies wasn’t good enough.

“I think it’s been bitterly disappointing,” the chief executive said.

“We came here with a lot of hope and optimism and now everything is out of our hands and we’ve got to pray that Portugal get up against Fiji next week.”

Waugh felt the Cup failing had been years in the making and said they needed to improve the entire rugby “eco-system” in Australia to produce more elite Test players.

He blamed the players for their record losses to Wales and Fiji and said that the injury-enforced absence of heavyweight stars Will Skelton and Taniela Tupou hadn’t helped.

Points Flow Chart

Australia win +20
Time in lead
75
Mins in lead
7
89%
% Of Game In Lead
8%
31%
Possession Last 10 min
69%
5
Points Last 10 min
2

“You look at that game against Fiji, and we lose Taniela and Will Skelton during the week and that has a massive impact on that game, and 22-15, it’s small margins and Fiji played well, we played poorly, and then you’re out of the World Cup unless there’s a miracle this weekend,” the former Test flanker said.

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Jones has been under fire for his youth selection policy and his tactics while he was forced to deny he’d interviewed for Japan coaching role days out from the World Cup opener.

Waugh said he was still satisfied to take Jones at his word that he was committed to take the Wallabies to the next World Cup in Australia in 2027.

“Eddie’s made his comments to me that he’s committed and there’s nothing there so I just say I’ve taken him for his word,” Waugh said.

“I’m not going to go around speculating or trying to find out where conversations are occurring.

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“We’re committed to Eddie … we’ll go through the assessment of this campaign, but I think most importantly it’s actually look at the overall structure of how Australian rugby.”

The veteran coach has put his hand up as the “fall-guy” for the Wallabies’ failings but Waugh didn’t forecast another coaching change,

“We have to do an assessment of the campaign but our intent is to continue with the path that we’re on,” Waugh said.

“I think this is not so much around the chopping and changing of coaches as it is around actually just fixing the system.”

 

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