Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh has confirmed that Eddie Jones’ job as Wallabies head coach is ‘safe’ despite describing their Rugby World Cup campaign as “bitterly disappointing.”
Waugh believes axing embattled Jones isn’t the answer as the Wallabies are in World Cup limbo after beating Portugal in their last pool match in Saint-Etienne, now relying on the Portuguese to stop Fiji from earning a bonus point in the final game next Monday.
If not, Fiji will join Wales in advancing to the quarter-finals with Australia heading home after the pool stage for the first time in tournament history.
“I think it’s been bitterly disappointing,” Waugh said on the performance of the Wallabies which wasn’t good enough.
“We came here with a lot of hope and optimism and now everything is out of our hands and we’ve got to pray that Portugal get up against Fiji next week.”
Waugh blamed the players for their record losses to Wales and Fiji and said that the injury-enforced absence of heavyweight stars Will Skelton and Taniela Tupou hadn’t helped.
“You look at that game against Fiji, and we lose Taniela and Will Skelton during the week and that has a massive impact on that game and 22-15, it’s small margins and Fiji played well, we played poorly, and then you’re out of the World Cup unless there’s a miracle this weekend,” the former Test flanker said.
Jones has been under fire for his youth selection policy and his tactics while he was forced to deny he’d interviewed for Japan coaching roles days out from the World Cup opener.
Waugh said he was still satisfied to take Jones at his word that he was committed to taking the Wallabies to the next World Cup in Australia in 2027.
Meanwhile, Fiji will take on Portugal in their all-important Rugby World Cup third Pool C match at 7am next Monday.