Eddie Jones has claimed he is committed to coaching Australia but could not guarantee he would be in charge of the Wallabies next year after a thumping defeat by Wales pushed them to the brink of elimination from the World Cup.
It emerged in a report by the Sydney Morning Herald on the day of the game that Jones had conducted a secret interview to take over as Japan coach after the World Cup, having only returned to the Australia job in January.
It was a bombshell that landed just hours before what Jones had described as a “do-or-die” match against Wales, who ran out 40-6 winners to leave Australia facing a first pool-stage exit from the World Cup.
Jones railed at suggestions he was not committed to the Wallabies’ cause and insisted that “I’ve got the ability to turn things around”, but admitted it was up to his employers at Rugby Australia to decide if he was the right man to coach the side amid considerable doubt as to whether he will survive in the job.
“That’s not my judgment, that’s the judgment for Rugby Australia,” he said. “I think I’ve got the ability to turn things around. I was hoping we’d be able to do it by now.
“We haven’t and I’m bloody disappointed about that. Whilst it looks like a shambles I can guarantee it’s not.
“I’m committed to coaching Australia. I really take umbrage that people are questioning my commitment to coaching Australia. To doubt my commitment to the job is a bit red hot.”
Warren Gatland, meanwhile, was left to bask in Wales becoming the first side to confirm their place in the last eight. “I thought it would be a close game. In fairness we’ve had a great week of training in terms of preparation,” he said. “We put a lot of work in the last four months as a team together and we know that we’re a momentum team, we build on confidence.”
Gatland also moved to allay fears over a chest injury suffered by Dan Biggar, who was forced off early in the first half. “Dan’s got a stretched pec, we’re not too sure,” he said. “[It’s] probably a couple of weeks. We’ve got 13 days before [our next match against] Georgia, so that potentially rules him out of that match. It’s not a significant injury.”