'Gutted' Eddie Jones apologises with Wallabies' World Cup in tatters after record loss to Wales - Sky
At OL Stadium, Lyon: Wales 40 (Gareth Davies, Nick Thompkins, Jac Morgan tries; Dan Biggar con, Gareth Anscombe 2 con, 6 pen, drop goal) Australia 6 (Ben Donaldson 2 pen). HT: 16-6
Eddie Jones has apologised to Australian rugby fans after the Wallabies’ record 40-6 defeat to Wales left them on the brink of a first-ever Rugby World Cup group stage exit.
“We are all gutted, mate,’’ Jones said in a television interview in Lyon on Monday morning (NZ time).
“Apologies to the supporters here and everyone back at home.”
Jones copped the blame, saying: “I’m the person given the responsibility of coaching the team, and I haven’t done it well enough, and I really apologise to everyone back home.”
The Wallabies' hopes of getting out of Pool C are now in tatters with Wales guaranteed passage to the playoffs, and Fiji is expected to join them - unless they lose to Portugal and Georgia, and that is extremely unlikely.
The boos that greeted Jones when his face appeared on the big screen in Lyon wasn't a great sign for the Wallabies ahead of their must-win World Cup match against Wales on Monday morning (NZT).
Things were to get much worse for Jones and his men.
The sight of Wallabies fans walking out of the ground before fulltime was damning, a reflection of their disgust as their team suffered their biggest-ever loss at a World Cup.
Wallabies coach Jones, who became embroiled in controversy during the lead-up to the must-win fixture after it was reported he had been in discussions with Japan to replace outgoing coach Jamie Joseph, watched as his team fell to pieces during its 40-6 defeat to the Welsh at OL Stadium.
For the first time in their history, the Wallabies – World Cup winners in 1991and 1999 –won't qualify for the quarterfinals. This was one of their darkest days.
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones fumes after being quizzed over alleged Japan job interview.
Rugby Australia's massive gamble to sack Dave Rennie in the summer, and replace him with Jones, who has signed a contract through to the 2027 World Cup, has failed miserably.
The Wallabies looked clue-less during this fixture. They were a confused rabble, to put it kindly.
Wales looked like they knew what they were doing as they piled on the points, through a dominant scrum and by sticking to their structures. The Welsh didn't need to worry about bonus points, they just wanted the win to top the pool.
New Zealander Gareth Anscombe, who replaced injured veteran No 10 Dan Biggar early in the game, hammered the Aussies with his accurate goal kicking. Anscombe slotted six penalties, a drop goal and a conversion to bag 23 points.
Wales scored 33 unanswered points after Wallabies goal kicker Ben Donaldson kicked his second penalty in the 14th minute.
The Welsh began their shift by shattering the belief that they would lean towards a conservative strategy in the early stages by delivering a potent strike-play off a lineout in the third minute.
Having won quick possession off the top of the set-piece the Welsh delivered the ball to a charging Jac Morgan near halfway, before he delivered the final pass to Gareth Davies to score.
It was a bright start, but dark clouds scuttled over the horizon for the Welsh when Biggar became the first casualty when he needed medical attention for what appeared to be sore ribs.
Biggar battled gamely to remain in the action, but when it became clear he was unable to operate at full capacity he was replaced by Anscombe.
Anscombe slotted into the pivot's job with relative ease, although his nerves would have jangled when his first penalty attempt ricocheted off the upright of posts.
He adjusted his radar to succeed with his next two efforts, with the Wallabies replying with two penalties via the boot of Ben Donaldson.
The Wallabies' decision-making was questionable.
When awarded a penalty near the sticks in the first spell captain David Porecki elected to spurn the opportunity for an easy three points by instructing his team to try and score off a lineout near the line.
The decision backfired when the Wallabies lineout turned into a shambles, with two key jumpers falling to the turf, and Wales hacking the ball downfield off the turnover.
During the halftime interval ex-Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, who was a controversial omission from the World Cup squad, was scathing of the call to not take the easy points.
"Tell me why we wouldn't take the kick?'' Hooper said. "If you are on the field at that point, and making that decision, why do I not take the kick at goal here?
"I can't see too many reasons why you wouldn't.''
Hooper said he could understand why the Wallabies wanted 7 points but said the turnover, which allowed Wales to kick a 50-22, gave the men in red "an absolute lift''.
He, like all other rugby fans from Australia, must be wondering how the Wallabies' campaign could go so horribly wrong.
Australia plays Portugal next Monday. Wales play Georgia on October 8.