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SBW slams Jones as Wallabies coach threatens to walk out of press conference

Lyon: Wallabies coach Eddie Jones threatened to walk out of his press conference after the heavy defeat to Wales when he was asked about a meeting with Japanese rugby officials and said he knew nothing about a second interview to be the Brave Blossoms’ next coach.

Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams said he couldn’t blame players for not following Jones into battle on Sunday (Monday AEST) after reports of the coach’s Zoom meeting with the Japan Football Rugby Union, which Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh and other officials were not aware of.

On a dark day for Australian rugby, the Wallabies slumped to a 40-6 defeat against Wales in Lyon to effectively end their hopes of progressing to a quarter-final.

With one game remaining against Portugal on Sunday (Monday AEST), Australia need some unlikely results to go their way to reach the next round.

It was the heaviest defeat in Australia’s World Cup history, four years after a 40-16 quarter-final loss to England.

The team’s build-up was rocked by this masthead’s report that Jones, who has a contract with Australian rugby until 2027, had been interviewed by JRFU officials via Zoom on August 25 to replace Jamie Joseph.

Ben Donaldson passes against Wales.

Ben Donaldson passes against Wales.Credit: Getty

Jones has distanced himself from the report, Waugh said in interviews before kick-off.

The Wallabies coach has told Waugh he is committed to Australia.

Jones, who has won one of eight games in charge of the Wallabies since his return in January, was asked if he had been interviewed by the JRFU.

“I don’t know what you are talking about mate,” Jones said after Australia’s heaviest defeat to Wales.

Eddie Jones at his press conference after Australia’s 40-6 loss to Wales.

Eddie Jones at his press conference after Australia’s 40-6 loss to Wales.Credit: Getty

Later, Jones was asked if he had a second interview with Japan lined up.

“I said, I don’t know what you’re talking about mate,” Jones said.

This masthead reported that Japan officials have discussed a second interview with Jones.

Asked if he could give Wallabies fans a 100 per cent commitment he would not be coach of Japan next year, Jones said: “I have committed to coach Australia.”

Pone Fa’amausili covers his face after the loss to Wales.

Pone Fa’amausili covers his face after the loss to Wales.Credit: AP

A World Cup media official then moved questions along. Jones later returned to the issue and defended his reputation.

“I take umbrage at the questioning [and] people questioning my commitment to coaching Australia,” Jones said. “I have been working non-stop since I came here and I apologise for the result. I keep saying that but to question my commitment to the job is a bit red-hot.

“We are not going to deal with those questions any further. I am happy to talk about Wales, I am happy to talk about [next opponents] Portugal. If you want to keep going down that line, I will excuse myself.”

Wallabies players, some of whom shed tears at full-time, all insisted they were not affected by the report. Many said they weren’t aware of it.

“With the amount of media on us at the moment, I doubt anybody saw that, so I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about,” Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott said. “To answer your question, I didn’t hear anything.”

Williams criticised Jones on Stan Sport after the loss.

“If I’m a player ... I’m not following a guy that’s sitting having a meeting with another national team, potentially looking for another job days before you’re hopping on the plane to come to this World Cup,” Williams said. “That’s just my opinion. I might be different, I might be going a bit too far here.”


Waugh reiterated that he trusted Jones was telling the truth.

However, the Rugby Australia chief said he had not asked the JRFU whether it had spoken to Jones, who has four years left on his deal.

“I take people on their word and that’s what I have been told,” Waugh said. “I’m a firm believer for taking people on their word. I think it would be disappointing, and I think everyone would think it would be disappointing.

“I haven’t spoken to Japan yet but I don’t think it’s my space to go over and ask governing bodies who they are talking to and what they’re up to. I’ve taken Eddie for what he has said, in the fact he has denied it and we move forward.”

Watch all the action from Rugby World Cup 2023 on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport. Every match streaming ad-free, live and in 4K UHD with replays, mini matches and highlights available on demand.

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