The Wallabies head coach is in the firing line after a humiliating defeat to Wales
The Eddie Jones fallout shows no sign of relenting anytime soon. Australia’s record-breakingly bad defeat to Wales in Lyon on Sunday night has sparked a bonfire of backlash against the coach.
Of course, the mood was already tense thanks to a Sydney Morning Herald scoop on the eve of the game that suggested Jones had interviewed for the Japan job just weeks before the World Cup. Not a good look at the best of times.
Eddie Jones fallout: What the man himself said
But after a 40-6 thrashing at the OL Stadium in Lyon, the knives are out for the former England boss. Jones threatened to walk out of a tense post-match press conference as he was consistently probed about the Japan reports. He flat-batted the first two questions on the subject, saying: “I don’t know what you are talking about, mate.”
However, when reporters changed tack and addressed captain David Porecki, asking whether the players had been affected by Jones’ reported meeting with Japanese officials. Jones stepped in and said: “I really take umbrage at the questioning that people are questioning my commitment to coaching Australia.
“I really take umbrage at it. I’ve been working non-stop since I’ve come in and I’ve apologised for the result. I keep saying that.
“So to be questioning my commitment to the job, I think is a bit red hot. So we’re not gonna deal with any of those questions any further. I’m happy to talk about Wales, Portugal but if you keep going down that line, I’ll excuse myself. So do you want to decide what you want to do?”
Eddie Jones fallout: The reaction
Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams had his say as a pundit on Australian broadcaster Stan Sport. SBW said: “From a player’s point of view, I’m not following a guy that’s sitting having a meeting with another national team, potentially looking for another job days before you are hopping on the plane (to the World Cup).”
Fly-half Bernard Foley, one of several senior pros to be jettisoned by Jones in favour of youth, succinctly wrote on Twitter/X: “It didn’t have to be this way.”
Ex-Wallaby Matt Giteau added: “Still in shock really about the result yesterday.. Players tried hard but missed some seniority in there badly IMO (in my opinion) at some crucial stages. Brutal learning curve for this young playing group. One more opportunity for them to represent our great nation.”
Herald columnist Paul Cully insisted Jones must go as the Australian felt the full force of the media backlash at home following a drab display that was surmised best by Richie Arnold post-match when he told reporters: “F**k mate, what didn’t go wrong?”
However, it was not blanket negative coverage. In fact, Jones even found support from an unlikely ally in Wales fly-half Dan Biggar.
Biggar was forced off after 12 minutes against the Wallabies with a pectoral injury but admitted he was not impressed with the treatment Jones received on the day. Every time his name was announced or an image of him flashed up on the big screen, the 63-year-old was roundly booed by (presumably?) Welsh supporters.
Writing in his Daily Mail column, Biggar said: “I didn’t see Eddie Jones after the match but I didn’t like the way he got booed every time he was on camera.
“At the end of the day he’s a human being. Sometimes he doesn’t help himself but the stick he’s getting is a bit over the top.
“He’s a big character and I feel for him. We want people to have personalities but as soon as things go wrong then those personalities get jumped on. It feels like a bandwagon. I’m not saying Eddie’s a saint but some of the flak he’s getting is unfair.”