Here are the latest rugby headlines on Monday, September 18.
Eddie Jones: ‘Get ready for Wales’
Australia boss Eddie Jones has warned “get ready for Wales” with next weekend’s World Cup fixture between the two sides taking on new importance after Fiji’s shock win over the Wallabies to ensure it’s a three-horse race in Pool C to reach the knockouts.
Australia’s World Cup knock-out hopes were left hanging by a thread after a shock 22-15 loss to Fiji, which was “thoroughly deserved” according to under-pressure head coach Eddie Jones.
Former England boss Jones watched his second spell in charge of the Wallabies take another turn for the worse as Simione Kuruvoli kicked 14 points to inspire his country to a first victory over Australia since 1954.
Mark Nawaqanitawase and Lalakai Foketi crossed over for the two-time World Cup winners in Saint-Etienne but they suffered a sixth defeat in seven Tests under Jones’ stewardship.
Fiji’s triumph put them in the driving seat to qualify for the quarter-finals from Pool C with winnable fixtures to come against Georgia and Portugal, meaning Australia must beat Wales in Lyon next weekend to avoid a first ever World Cup group-stage exit.
Fiji had pushed Wales close in their first Pool C clash, losing narrowly by a 32-26 score and being left to rue centre Semi Radradra knocking on close to the try-line in the game’s last play.
Wallabies boss Jones said: “Thoroughly deserved victory for Fiji, they outplayed us, particularly around the ruck. They executed three times more turnovers than us, and in a close game like that, that’s the difference. For some reason we were just off today. If you look at the stats, we dominated. We scored two tries to one, but we were a poor version of ourselves today, so there’s a bit of soul-searching to do, but it makes the Wales game pretty important.
“The great thing about the World Cup is it’s not the end of the road. We’ve got Wales next week so we need to kick some stones tonight, work out where we can improve quickly and then get on with the game against Wales.
“I’ve got no doubt we will get a response. Get ready for Wales.”
Australia captain David Porecki added: “Just get ready for Wales. Every game is do or die in my eyes. We didn’t get it right tonight and we will next week. We’ve got a pretty tight turnaround for Wales now, we’ve got to lick our wounds and get ourselves up for that game, which is easy because it’s a World Cup game.”
Sonny Bill Williams and Eddie Jones clash after Fiji victory
Eddie Jones’ decision to pick youth over experience has again come under attack, this time from a New Zealand legend.
Sonny Bill Williams questioned Jones’ selections after Australia’s defeat to Fiji. The game saw young playmaker Carter Gordon taken off in the second half. Gordon and other young stars were picked ahead of veterans like Quade Cooper and Nic White.
“My take on this whole ordeal of a game is, I feel for Carter Gordon right now,” Williams said.
“Because he doesn’t have a Quade Cooper or [Bernard] Foley to go back to the hotel and say, ‘bro, these things happen but you know you will be better.’ It’s really tough seeing him get pulled like that.”
He added: “But these selections, I’m going to call it how it is – we are in a high-performance arena. And sometimes you live and die by your decisions and Eddie Jones got found out tonight unfortunately.”
Jones responded with a big put down aimed at the pundit.
“When you are a television commentator, you are always right,” he said. “Maybe I need to become a television commentator then I’ll be right all the time. Look, we’ve gone with a young team, I’ve got no regrets at all. We are building a team for the future and we are going to go through some pain.
“I made the decision to go for a younger team and if that’s the wrong decision then I will be held accountable for that.
“But I think Australian rugby needs to move on to a younger team. I am “
Wales v Australia ‘elimination’ game
Wales v Australia is now being billed as an “elimination” game.
Joe Roff, former Wallabies back and Rugby World Cup player of 1995, 1999, 2003, said: “This leaves Australia with backs to the wall but often that is when the character of the team shines through the best. We know there is a mountain now and in certain respects next week becomes an elimination game. We start playing elimination games now, the team needs to dig in deep and I believe it has the character to do that.”
As for Fiji, he added: “Congratulations to Fiji, they were the better side on the night. This is a new Fiji, they are disciplined, they are athletic, they are cohesive. They would not be out of place at the pointy end of this tournament.”
Portugal star cited as another goes before ban hearing
Portugal forward Raphael Simões has been cited for a dangerous tackle in the Rugby World Cup defeat to Wales in Nice on Saturday.
World Rugby announced on Sunday that Simões would appear before an independent disciplinary committee in Paris on Tuesday, September 19, after he was cited for an act of foul play contrary to law 9.13.
Portugal teammate Vincent Pinto is due to go before an independent judicial committee in Paris, also on Tuesday, for his red card.
The committee which will hear the matters will be chaired by Jean-Noël Couraud (France), joined by former coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former player Leon Lloyd (England).
New Zealand prop goes before disciplinary panel
By PA Sport Staff
New Zealand prop Ethan de Groot will face a disciplinary hearing on Monday, September 18, after he was sent off during the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup victory over Namibia.
De Groot received a red card on the bunker review system for what World Rugby said was “charging without attempting to grasp the opponent”. He will appear before an independent judicial committee chaired by Samoa’s Brenda Heather-Latu.
Wales move focus to Australia
By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Nice
Jonathan Humphreys has predicted “a hell of a game” when Rugby World Cup rivals Wales and Australia go head-to-head in Lyon.
Top spot in Pool C could be on the line next Sunday and Wales know that objective will move closer into view if they topple the Wallabies. Australia have beaten them in five of their seven previous World Cup meetings, but bonus-point victories over Fiji and Portugal mean that Wales are in decent shape.
“It is going to be a hell of a game – there is going to be a lot riding on that,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Humphreys said. “We have got an eight-day turnaround, so hopefully we will have a full squad to choose from. A few boys have rested up after a tough Fiji game.
“It will be interesting to see how they come out. He [Australia head coach Eddie Jones] has always got something different in his game. The players he has available to him right now are a hell of a squad, and we are looking forward to what will be an incredibly tough match.”