Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones is keen to move on from his side’s shock Rugby World Cup loss to Fiji and has turned his attention to his team’s upcoming clash against Wales.
Australia’s 22-15 defeat in Saint-Etienne on Sunday was a momentous occasion for the Pacific Islanders as it was their first victory against the Wallabies since 1954, and Jones lamented his side’s slow start.
“I have had enough time to look at it… It reinforced initial impressions that we got knocked off our kilter the first 30 minutes of the game and were never really able to recover until the last 30,” he said.
Impressed with young replacements
“I thought our young finishing bench did really well and put us in a position to win the game, and we weren’t quite good enough.”
Australia and Wales are set to face off in Lyon on Sunday, and the Wallabies can ill afford a defeat as it will almost certainly mean they will be eliminated at the global showpiece’s group stage for the first time in the tournament’s history.
“This is one of the biggest challenges for this team and personally for the coaching staff,” said Jones. “We know how we want to play against Wales, and we are going to work really hard to get the players back on track.
“When you have a loss like this, it knocks you around a bit. It knocks you emotionally and team ethics-wise. You start seeing shadows in every corner of the room.
“There is noise from outside, which you have to handle. That’s the challenge for the coaching staff this week, to make sure they have got the right noise.”
Jones did not want to dwell on the Fiji loss and is already preparing for a Welsh side brimming with confidence after they started their World Cup campaign with back-to-back wins against Fiji and Portugal.
“The only thing we are worried about is Wales this week,” he said. “We’d be happy to play them tomorrow if they wanted to play. We’d get the television organised.
“We can’t wait for the challenge.”
Another player sidelined
Scrum-half and vice-captain Tate McDermott is set to return to action and lead the side after completing his recovery from his own head knock.