Sonny Bill Williams slams Eddie Jones after shock World Cup loss to Fiji – before Wallabies coach hits back with a scathing comment
- Australia crashed to a 22-15 loss to Fiji at Rugby World Cup
- Was Wallabies first Test loss to island nation in 69 years
- Dual-code star Williams blamed selections for the defeat
Eddie Jones’ youth-first policy has come under fire again, with former All Blacks and NRL champion Sonny Bill Williams lashing the Wallabies mentor after their shock 22-15 loss to Fiji in Saint-Etienne.
It was the first time that the Aussies had lost to Fiji in any Test match in 69 years and came after young playmaker Carter Gordon was hooked in the second half.
Gordon was favoured over veterans Quade Cooper and Nic White for the World Cup, with Jones opting for young talent including scrum-half Tate McDermott.
Williams said Jones had made a serious blunder with his selections, including not carrying Cooper to the World Cup to mentor the young playmakers.
‘My take on this whole ordeal of a game is, I feel for Carter Gordon right now,’ Williams said.
Jones has come under heavy scrutiny in his second coming as Wallabies coach, largely because of his selections and youth-first policy
Young half Carter Gordon had a night to forget against Fiji and was hooked from the action midway through the second half
Williams posted the following message after the match: ‘You guys already know I’m a big fan of the Fiji boys, so I snuck in post game to give my congrats to the boys after their historic win. Keep making the islands proud brothers.’
‘Because he doesn’t have a Quade Cooper or [Bernard] Foley to go back to the hotel and say, “Bro, these things happen but you know you will be better.” It’s really tough seeing him get pulled like that,’ Williams continued.
‘And [Samu] Kerevi. But these selections, I’m going to call it how it is – we are in a high-performance arena. And sometimes you live and die by your decisions and Eddie Jones got found out tonight unfortunately.’
But Jones doubled down on his youth-first Wallabies mentality and slammed Williams right back.
‘When you are a television commentator, you are always right,’ Jones said.
‘Maybe I need to become a television commentator then I’ll be right all the time. Look, we’ve gone with a young team, I’ve got no regrets at all. We are building a team for the future and we are going to go through some pain.
‘I made the decision to go for a younger team and if that’s the wrong decision then I will be held accountable for that.
‘But I think Australian rugby needs to move on to a younger team. I am prepared to go through some pain to leave Australia with a team capable of doing really well in a World Cup.’
Williams and the Fijian players, including former NRL superstar Semi Radradra (right) celebrate the historic win over Australia
It comes after Jones angrily snapped back at a journalist who asked whether Gordon was the right selection after the Wallabies were pumped 38-7 by New Zealand in August.
‘I don’t think I got [selection] wrong, mate. In fact, I’m going to get it right,’ Jones snapped.
‘To say that as a young No.10 in his first game [as a starter], ‘you’ve got it wrong in selecting him’ is just a load of rubbish mate.
‘So anyone who asks that question doesn’t know anything about rugby.
‘If you know anything about rugby you know that No 10s need time in the seat. If you don’t know anything about rugby then don’t talk to me.’
The Wallabies World Cup will now go on the line in their third pool match against the unbeaten Welsh in Lyon next Sunday (Monday AEST).
While the Wallabies prepare for Wales, Fiji have a two-week break before they face winless Georgia in Bordeaux.
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