Eddie Jones loses faith in rookie fly-half with Australia set to make key changes for Wales clash – report

Colin Newboult
Eddie Jones Wallabies coach v France RWC warm-up 2023 - PA.jpg

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones.

Fly-half Carter Gordon has been omitted for the Wallabies’ crucial Rugby World Cup clash with Wales, according to reports in Australia.

Gordon has consistently been backed by Eddie Jones, but the head coach appears to have lost faith in the rookie pivot ahead of their decisive clash on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was chosen as the only out-and-out number 10 in the Australian squad for the global tournament, with Ben Donaldson considered a utility player.

The Quade situation

That meant playmaker Quade Cooper was axed ahead of the World Cup, leaving them short on experience in the decision-making position.

Jones has often defended Gordon when questioned on the youngster’s performances but, after his struggles in the 22-15 defeat to Fiji, the Wallabies boss is set to make a change.

In their biggest match in four years, the Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that Donaldson will be handed the reins for the clash with the Welsh.

He has only started one game at 10 for the national team, which ironically came against Wales in the final encounter of Dave Rennie’s tenure.

Perhaps ominously for Australia, they found themselves 34-13 down with Donaldson on the field before Noah Lolesio – another player axed by Jones – came on to help inspire a turnaround.

The 24-year-old will be joined at half-back by Tate McDermott, who returns after suffering a concussion against Georgia in their opening World Cup match.

The new full-back

With Donaldson shifting from 15 to 10, that has opened the door for Andrew Kellaway to return to the team at full-back.

Kellaway started both Bledisloe Cup Tests against the All Blacks in that position, as well as the final warm-up game with France, but was dropped for the start of the global tournament.

Jones considered putting Mark Nawaqanitawase in that slot having trained there on Tuesday, but the head coach has instead decided to place his trust in the Melbourne Rebels man.

There are also big calls to make up front for the head coach with both Will Skelton and Taniela Tupou ruled out of this weekend’s clash.

READ MORE: David Campese exclusive: ‘Crisis will turn into unmitigated disaster’ if Wallabies lose to Wales