Wallaby coaches all responsible says Hatley
NEWS: While coach Eddie Jones insists he should be the “fall-guy” from the Wallabies horror World Cup campaign, his assistant Neal Hatley says it’s a shared responsibility.
The Australians can keep their shaky World Cup alive if they beat Portugal with a bonus point in their final pool match in Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
It looked all but dead and buried until Fiji stunningly failed to take a bonus point from a 17-12 victory over Georgia in Bordeaux, only managing two tries in a heart-stopping encounter.
The likelihood is the Wallabies will do what is required against minnows Portugal, the world’s 16th ranked side, but they must then wait a week in purgatory with Fiji only requiring a losing bonus point against Portugal in Toulouse next Sunday (Monday AEDT) to send the Australians packing before the play-offs for the first time.
Regardless of the outcome, Hatley said that while Jones had received the bulk of the blame, it should be shared amongst the coaching staff and players.
“That’s always on a head coach, isn’t it?,” said Hatley, who also worked with Jones when he was England coach.
“I heard what he said but everyone’s responsible. There’s leaders within the team, the rest of the coaching staff are responsible alongside Eddie, never just one man.
“That’s Eddie being Eddie, he’s immensely proud and passionate about coaching Australia. That’s close to his heart. He’s gutted about what’s happened and he’s got a real desire to fix this moving forwards.”
Jones has been linked to the Japan coaching vacancy, although he has denied interviewing for the post just before the tournament got under way in Paris.
Hatley said the 63-year-old’s commitment couldn’t be questioned.
“I’m always amazed by the questions about Eddie,” Hatley said.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him for a long time. I see no change in the way that this man operates. He’s desperate to win, he’s desperate for his players to do well.
“He’s desperate for his teams to connect and make their country proud.”
Jones has a contract to coach the Wallabies through to the 2027 World Cup in Australia and while most of the assistant coaches are off contract after this tournament, Hatley said he wanted to help with the re-build.
“I’d love to be a part of that,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed these five, six months immensely and the boys have been brilliant so I couldn’t be more excited about staying on.”