VIDEO: Eddie Jones 'committed' to Wallaby job despite Japan link
REACTION: Australia coach Eddie Jones apologised for the Wallabies’ record defeat to Wales, but insisted he was “committed” to the job.
“I would like to apologise to all Australia supporters,” said Jones after the record 6-40 World Cup loss.
Australian media reports claimed Jones had been interviewed by the Japanese federation about taking over their team after the tournament.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, mate,” said Jones, when probed about the alleged interview, before later adding he took “umbrage” with those questioning his commitment.
“One hundred percent,” he said when asked if he was committed.
“I came back to Australia to try to help.
“At the moment I’m not getting much help, am I?
“But that doesn’t mean my commitment to help has changed.
“I’m a proud Australian and I hate to see Australian rugby doing as poorly as we’re doing, particularly under my reign.”
Australia have lost seven out of their eight matches since the 63-year-old returned to the helm for a second stint as national team boss.
They reached the 2003 World Cup Final in his first one.
But Jones said there was more to fix in the Australian system than just coaching issues or underperforming players.
“It’s not only the Wallabies we’ve got to improve, we’ve got to improve the whole system of Australian rugby,” he said.
“That’s not an excuse but we’ve just got to have a really good look at ourselves to see what we’re doing and the way we’re going about our rugby.”
As for Sunday’s debacle in Lyon, it was Australia’s largest-ever World Cup defeat as well as their biggest against Wales, surpassing a 28-3 reverse in 1975.
(Article continues below Eddie Jones interview …)
‘I take full responsibility’
“First, I’d like to apologise to all Australian supporters,” said a contrite Jones.
“A lot of people travelled here and I’m sure a lot of people were staying up late at night [in Australia].
“Our performance wasn’t up to the standard that is required. I apologise and I take full responsibility for it.
“They are a young team, we’re very disappointed. They tried their hearts out but at the moment we don’t have the consistency in our play to put pressure on teams like Wales.”
Jones insisted he has “the ability to turn things around” and defended his decision to leave experienced internationals such as former captain Michael Hooper and fly-halves Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper out of his squad.
That later decision has proved particularly damaging in France, where neither Carter Gordon, 22, nor Ben Donaldson, 24, have proved able to orchestrate a team in top-level international rugby.
“I was put in this job to turn Australia around and I don’t think I could have done it with the players that had been playing,” said Jones.
“I think we needed a fresh change, and, sure, the young guys struggled with the environment today but unless they get that kind of experience, they’re not going to mature into the players they can be.
“This is the most painful time, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also the best learning time for a young team and young players about the game and what you’ve got to be at Test level.”