By Josh Alston for Daily Mail Australia
00:30 18 Sep 2023, Updated 01:03 18 Sep 2023
- Australia lost 22-15 to Fiji in the Rugby World Cup
- Wallabies’ first Test loss to island nation in 69 years
- Double code star Williams blamed exams for the failure
Eddie Jones’ youth-first policy has come under fire again, with former All Blacks and NRL champion Sonny Phil Williams lashing out at the Wallabies mentor after their 22-15 loss to Fiji in Saint-Etienne.
It was the first time the Aussies had lost a Test against Fiji in 69 years and came after young playmaker Carter Gordon impressed in the second half.
Gordon was preferred over World Cup players Quade Cooper and Nick White, with Jones opting for young talent including scrum-half Tate McDermott.
Williams said Jones made a big mistake in his selections, including not taking Cooper to the World Cup to mentor the young athletes.
„My take on this whole ordeal of a game is that I feel for Carter Gordon right now,” Williams said.
Because he doesn’t have a Quad Cooper or [Bernard] Foley went back to the hotel and said, „Brother, these things happen but you know you’ll be fine.” It’s very hard to see him pulled like that,’ Williams continued.
’And [Samu] Kerevi. But these exams, what I’m going to call it – we’re in the high-performance arena. Sometimes you live and die by your decisions, and Eddie Jones unfortunately found out tonight.
But Jones doubled down on his youth-first Wallabies mentality and berated Williams again.
„When you’re a television commentator, you’re always right,” Jones said.
’Maybe I should be a TV commentator and then I’ll be right all the time. Look, we’ve gone with a young team and I have no regrets. We’re building a team for the future, and we’re going to go through some pain.
’I decided to go to the junior team and if it’s a wrong decision I will be responsible for it.
But I think Australian rugby needs to go to a younger team. I’m ready to go through some pain to leave Australia with a team capable of doing well in the World Cup.
It comes after Jones angrily hit back at a journalist who asked if Gordon was the right choice after the Wallabies were pummeled 38-7 by New Zealand in August.
’I don’t think I got it [selection] Wrong, friend. Actually, I’m going to get it right,’ Jones snapped.
’To say a young No 10 in his first game [as a starter]’You made a mistake in choosing him’ is just rubbish friend.
’So anyone who asks that question knows nothing about rugby.
’If you know anything about rugby, you know that 10s need time on the bench. Don’t talk to me if you don’t know anything about rugby.’
The Wallabies’ World Cup campaign now continues with a third pool match against the unbeaten Welsh in Lyon next Sunday (Monday AEST).
Fiji have a two-week break before facing winless Georgia in Bordeaux as the Wallabies prepare for Wales.
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