Eddie Jones was joined by Wallaby captain David Porecki as they faced the rugby world’s media following their shocking record defeat to Wales on Sunday night.
The match signaled Australia’s exit from the competition in the pool stages for the first time in the nation’s history. Whilst the young squad were coming to terms with their historic loss in the changing room, head coach Eddie Jones arrived for the media briefings, bleary-eyed and short on words.
This was a far cry from the Eddie Jones that has become well-known for his controversial and outlandish claims in the past. Instead, for the second time in a year, Jones looked short of charisma, confidence, and support.
Much like the latter stages of his England tenure, Jones found himself in a position where he could not state the future of his job, and instead found himself apologising to the fans that had traveled a considerable distance to support the team.
Here are the three key takeaways from the press conference:
Apologetic and upset Eddie
“Firstly I’d just like to apologise to all the Australian supporters, a lot of people have traveled here. I’m sure a lot of people have stayed up late at night and our performance wasn’t up to the standard that is required, and I apologise for that. I take full responsibility for it.
“The young team in there is very disappointed, they tried their hearts out but unfortunately at the moment we just don’t have the consistency in our play to put pressure on teams like Wales. We do some good things and then we fall away, it’s very disappointing.
“Congratulations to Wales also I thought they played a good tough game of rugby, they kicked well, chased well and they had a couple of opportunities to score tries which they took. So well done to Wales.
“I came back to Australia to try to help, at the moment I’m not giving much help, am I? But that doesn’t mean my commitment to help them has changed. I’m a proud Australian, I hate to see Australian rugby do as poorly as we’ve been doing, particularly under my reign.
“I came back to try to help but there’s not only the Wallabies we’ve got to try to improve, we need to improve the whole system in Australian rugby and that’s not an excuse but we’ve just got to have a really good look at ourselves and see what we’ve got to do to improve the way we’re going about our rugby.”
Refusing to acknowledge Japan rumours but also refusing to rule out a return, whilst simultaneously stating a commitment to Wallaby role.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, mate,” Eddie said when asked about the report of his job interview with Japan.
“That’s not my judgment, mate. That’s the judgment of rugby Australia” was his response to his job security at the Wallabies.
“I think I’ve got I’ve got the ability to turn things around, I was hoping we’d be able to do it by now but we haven’t been able to and as I said I take full responsibility for it I haven’t done a good enough job and I’m bloody disappointed about that mate.
“I’m committed to coach Australia. I’m committed to coach Australia” Jones repeated as reporters pushed Jones for clarification on the Japan rumours.
“I really take umbrage at the questioning that people are questioning my commitment to coaching Australia. I’ve been working nonstop since I’ve come here and I apologise for the results I keep saying that but to doubt my commitment to the job I think it’s a bit red hot.
“So we’re not going to deal with any of those questions any further, so I’m happy to talk about Wales I’m happy to talk about Portugal if you want to keep going down that line I’ll excuse myself, so do you want to decide what you want to do?”
State of Aussie rugby
“If I wasn’t thinking that I could win the World Cup, I wouldn’t bother going. I’d prefer to have high expectations, and then when you fail at least you least you know we’ve been setting our goal to win the World Cup, and if we’re not good enough that’s OK as long as we keep working hard and keep trying to improve and we are every day.
“You get some downs and ups and we’ll continue to have that for a while. What we are seeing is a group of young players who are going to be the backbone of a very successful Australian team.
“I took the job understanding there was gonna be a process to rebuild Australian rugby and rebuild the Wallabies and a process unfortunately takes time it takes some pain sometimes it takes more pain than it does pleasure. But I’ve got no idea what I set out to do whilst it looks at the moment like it’s a shambles I can guarantee you it’s not.
“There are things afoot that will help change Australian rugby which is not for me to talk about, but for other people and for rugby Australia to talk about. I’ve got to coach the team better, there’s no doubt about that. That’s not good enough tonight and I’m responsible for that, but we’ve got a process in place.”