Rugby World Cup: Eddie Jones admits he has let Australian rugby down and says he turned down 'nice life' to do job

Eddie Jones speaks to the media ahead of Australia's crunch match with Wales.Eddie Jones speaks to the media ahead of Australia's crunch match with Wales.
Eddie Jones speaks to the media ahead of Australia's crunch match with Wales.
Eddie Jones says he has “no doubt” that Australia will beat Wales in Sunday’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash.

The Wallabies know that a loss in Lyon would effectively dash their hopes of securing a quarter-final place. They have never made a pool-stage exit in nine previous World Cup campaigns, but it is now a realistic prospect following defeat against Pool C rivals Fiji last weekend.

Wallabies head coach and former England chief Jones has had to endure fierce criticism from a number of former Australia internationals, particularly after the Fiji loss. He remains defiant, though, as Australia tackle opponents buoyant on the back of successive bonus-point victories over Fiji and Portugal.

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“I’ve let Australian rugby down. I haven’t done the job I was brought in to do. I was brought in to turn it around, so I feel that responsibility,” Jones said. “Last week was a difficult game for us, and we have bounced back really well and prepared really well for this game. So we will go out there and give it a red-hot go. The way the team has prepared, the way they’ve come together, I’ve got no doubt we will win on Sunday. But if we don’t, then sometimes you have got to do the work.

“At the end of the World Cup there will be a review. And given the results we’ve had then maybe Australian Rugby doesn’t want to keep me. That is the reality of the job I live in and I understand that. I don’t know of any team that you can come in and blow magic over. You have got to go through a process and you have got to find out what’s wrong with the team and then you have got to try to address those problems.”

Jones, who has made three changes to his line-up against Wales, including a start at fly-half for Ben Donaldson and Andrew Kellaway featuring in the full-back role, is relishing Australia’s backs-to-the-wall status. “When you coach, you make a choice to put yourself in these positions. If I didn’t want to put myself in these positions, I could be teaching,” he said. “I could have a nice life and get up every morning, the wife puts the packed lunch in the bag, I put a shirt and tie on, know I’m going to teach six periods, come home, wash the dog, clean the car, watch Channel 7 or ABC news and then get the packed lunch ready for the next day.

“I could have done that, mate, but I made a choice to coach. We’ve got 10 times’ more people here than we normally do for an Australian press conference because people smell blood. That makes it even more exciting.”

Wales co-captain and hooker Dewi Lake has missed out on a place in the matchday 23, with head coach Warren Gatland naming the same team that defeated Fiji 12 days ago. Ryan Elias starts at hooker in a side skippered by flanker Jac Morgan. Elliot Dee provides cover for Elias on the bench, while lock Adam Beard will win his 50th cap as Wales target a victory that would secure an impressive fourth successive World Cup quarter-final appearance.

Gatland said: “We are happy with our position going into this game. We have two wins and 10 points. There is a confidence among this group and we have had a good edge to training this week. Everyone wants to be involved and there were some disappointed players this week, which is exactly what we want with competition strong across the squad. If we play the way we know we can and maintain that for 80 minutes, then we know we will be a very hard team to beat.”