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'They should be throwing baguettes at me': Eddie Jones digests Australia's loss to Fiji

By Ben Smith
Ben Donaldson of Australia looks dejected at full-time following 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 head coach Eddie Jones says he takes “full responsibility” for Australia’s first loss to Fiji since 1954 but doesn’t regret rolling the dice with a young team.


Australia were met by a physical and firing Fiji outfit who played patient rugby and capitalised on Wallabies’ mistakes through the boot of halfback Simione Kuruvoli who kicked four long-range penalties to take a 12-8 half-time lead.

The Fijian pack stood up at set-piece time and found dominance over Australia, pressuring them at the breakdown as the match wore on in the second half. Fiji were able to repel multiple possessions late which sealed the 22-15 win.

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Jones was at a loss to understand why his team were flat in the opening stages and pointed to the slow start as a key reason contributing to the loss.

“We are doing our absolute best, I apologise, it’s my fault,” Jones said when asked of his message to the Australian fans, “I take full responsibility for it.”

The Wallabies were hit with injuries to key forwards Taniela Tupou and captain Will Skelton in the lead-up to the game, but Jones wasn’t prepared to blame the loss of his two star forwards.

However, it was Australia’s inability to win the gain line that cost them according to Jones as Fiji’s defence held strong and went hard at the breakdown forcing a number of penalties.


“We can’t blame the loss on Tupou and Skelton not being there. We’ve got to be good enough to go without them,” he said.

“The penalties… when you aren’t on the front foot it’s quite easy to give away penalties.

“So I’m not worried about our discipline, I’m worried about our ability to get on the front foot. Any game of rugby you’ve got to get on the front foot.”

The Wallabies were able to score the first try after some quick thinking by Mark Nawaqanitawase after a Nic White 50-22. The quick throw to Kerevi ended with a return ball and a try.

But Fiji’s clinical execution at the core areas of the game kept them ahead in the arm wrestle.

“We just couldn’t get one part of game going, if we were able to get our maul going that could have changed the game, but we couldn’t get that going,” Jones summarised.


“We didn’t get any ascendency in the scrum, they beat us at the breakdown, so that was the difficult thing about it.”

The Wallabies head coach was blunt when asked about the hostile reception from the local crowd who booed whenever the head coach popped on the big screen.

“I’m a bit used to it mate, and after that I probably deserve a bit more,” Jones quipped.

“They should be throwing, what do they throw here, baguettes, croissants at me. It’s not good enough so I deserve whatever I get mate.”


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