Eddie Jones says he deserved more than just jeers from the Saint-Étienne crowd after the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup loss to Fiji.
- The Wallabies dropped their second match of the World Cup, losing 22-15 to Fiji
- Eddie Jones was booed and said he “probably deserved more”
- Australia took a 3-0 World Cup record against Fiji into the game
The polarising coach was roundly booed by the full house at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and he accepted blame for the historic 22-15 defeat that threatens Australia’s quarterfinal plans.
“After that, I probably deserved more,” Jones said after his sixth loss from his first seven games back in charge of the side.
“They should be throwing baguettes, croissants at me. I deserve whatever I get.
“I apologise, it’s my fault and I take full responsibility for it.”
The Wallabies have the youngest squad at the World Cup, with Jones overlooking the likes of long-time captain Michael Hooper and veteran playmakers Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley.
Their game plan fell apart without their injured heavy hitters, lock and skipper Will Skelton and prop Taniela Tupou, with Australia losing the penalty count 18-7 as the team struggled at the breakdown.
Rookie five-eighth Carter Gordon made some costly errors and was replaced after 49 minutes.
With a home World Cup looming in 2027, Jones said the pain was necessary for any gain, although that is not the news Wallabies fans who have made the trip to France want to hear.
“We’ve gone with a young team but I’ve got no regrets at all,” Jones said.
“We are building a team for the future and we are going to go through some pain.
“I made the decision to go for a younger team and if that’s the wrong decision then I will be held accountable for that, but I think Australian rugby needs to move on to a younger team.
“I am prepared to go through some pain to leave Australia with a team capable of doing really well in a World Cup and that’s not to say we can’t do it, 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 a World Cup [in 2019], so funny things have happened.”
The Wallabies’ hopes hang on defeating Pool C leaders Wales in Lyon next Sunday (Monday AEST) with bonus points and points differential from the two remaining rounds likely to come into play.
He gave no hints about what line-up changes he might make for the unbeaten Welsh, although he said both Skelton (calf) and Tupou (hamstring) would not play.
As well as their first World Cup loss to Fiji, Australia had not been beaten by the Pacific Islanders in 69 years and Jones said it “hurt” to see such a record broken on his watch.
“It definitely hurts me personally, 100 per cent, and as I said, I’m 100 per cent responsible for it,” he said.
“We had a bad day, which can happen, and we’ve got to be better next week, so that’s my responsibility too.”