Rugby-Jones says committed to Australia job after Wales debacle

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98 shares, 159 points

By Nick Mulvenney

LYON, France (Reuters) – Eddie Jones said he remained 100% committed to the task of turning Australian rugby around after his young side were thrashed by Wales to move to the brink of elimination from the World Cup in the pool stage.

Jones was hired on a five-year contract in January but a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday cited sources as saying he had been interviewed about returning to the Japan job when Jamie Joseph leaves after the World Cup.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, mate,” he said when questioned about the report after the 40-6 loss to Wales.

“I came back to Australia to try to help as much as I can. I’m a proud Australian. I hate to see Australian rugby do as poorly as we’ve been doing, particularly under my reign.

“There’s not only the Wallabies we’ve got to try and improve, we’ve got to improve the whole system of Australian rugby.

“That’s not an excuse. We’ve got to have a really good look at ourselves, and to continue improving and getting better.”

Jones bridled at continuing questioning over the report and threatened to walk out of the post-match press conference.

“I really take umbrage at people questioning my commitment as Australia coach,” he said.

“I’ve been working nonstop since I’ve come in and apologise for the results. But to question my commitment to the job I think is a bit red hot.”

Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh earlier told reporters in Lyon that Jones had assured his employers there was no foundation to the report.

“You just have to take people for their word,” the former Wallabies flanker said.

“He said he hasn’t, and if he has, that’s something that we’ll deal with at the time that becomes evident.”

Jones was previously coach of Japan for three years from 2012 and led the Brave Blossoms to a stunning upset of South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

The 63-year-old was sacked after seven years as England coach last December and returned to Australia for his second spell as Wallabies coach in January.

Jones proclaimed that Australia would win the World Cup for the third time with a “smash and grab” raid in France but results have failed back up his hyperbole.

After losing all three matches in the Rugby Championship and the second Bledisloe Cup test to New Zealand, the Wallabies were trounced 41–17 by France in their final warm-up.

They opened their tournament with a 35-15 win over Georgia but a first loss to Fiji in 69 years in their second Pool C match last week led to a barrage of criticism of Jones’s decision to trust in youth for the World Cup campaign.

“We’re disappointed, they’re a young team and they’re very disappointed, they tried their hearts out,” he added on Sunday.

“And, of course, at the moment we just don’t have the consistency in our favour to put pressure on teams like Wales.

“The only way you get experience is by playing these games and sometimes you know, games like this have the makings of a good team going forward.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: KFGO

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