Rugby union greats Sonny Bill Williams and David Campese have shredded the Wallabies and coach Eddie Jones for an 'un-Australian' like performance after losing to Fiji in the World Cup. Fiji recorded a 22-15 over Australia, the first time the Pacific Island nation has defeated the Wallabies in 69 years.
Australia were outplayed and lacked punch through the middle after losing captain Will Skelton (calf) and spearhead prop Taniela Tupou (hamstring) through injury. And coach Eddie Jones was left frustrated after the match with Australia facing the possibility of failing to qualify for the knockout stages of a Rugby World Cup for the first time in their history.
"Thoroughly deserved victory for Fiji, they outplayed us," Jones said in his post-match interview. Jones admitted Australia were a 'poor version' of themselves and the team needed to do some 'soul-searching' ahead of two must-win clashes.
"When you're not on the front foot it's quite easy to give away penalties," Jones said. "So I'm not worried about our discipline, I'm worried about not getting on the front foot because if you can't you're battling."
Jones was jeered when shown on the big screen during an interview with Australian fans less than impressed with the team's direction since he took over. Australia now have one win in seven matches under the former England coach.
While the Wallabies players knew the impact of the loss having looked utterly dejected after the game, All Blacks legend Williams was critical of Jones' tactics. Jones headed into the World Cup with young playmaker Carter Gordon as his first-choice No.10.
And the youngster showed his inexperience against the Fijian outfit and Jones made the huge call to haul him off before the end of the game. The move will act as a bitter blow for Gordon and Williams took aim at Jones for not taking an experienced playmaker in the squad to offer him guidance and support.
"My take on this whole ordeal of a game is, I feel for Carter Gordon right now," Williams said on Stan Sport. "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.
"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."
David Campese blasts Australia over poor performance
Wallabies legend Campese was more critical of the Wallabies. Campese said the performance was 'un-Australian' and was concerned heading forward. "Whilst I’m delighted for Fiji I am devastated that Australia are so – well un-Australian," he wrote on Planet Rugby.
"We’re a nation that thrives on running rugby, on intuitive attack and to watch the side I once represented getting caught up in a kicking duel in the last three minutes pretty much sums up the ambition and decision making in our rugby right now. Australia now have a massive task to overcome Wales and it’s key they score bonus points in doing so.
"When Donaldson played at 10 they showed more structure, but we need to see far more leadership coming through on the pitch and, as long as the coaching voices are so loud, those leaders will struggle to find their voice, other than White who tried manfully to get some go forward from his players."
The Wallabies are now third in their pool after two games, with Wales in first on 10 points, Fiji second on six and Australia also on six. The rugby union world also reacted to Fiji's historic victory with jubilation for the nation with a population of 900,000.
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! ✊🏽 #RWC2023 pic.twitter.com/Rp46Ej6Rpc
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) September 17, 2023
Bula vinaka @fijirugby the islands will be rocking today 🔥🔥
— Israel Akuhata Dagg (@izzy_dagg) September 17, 2023
Fiji leading the way for the pacific. Wow. @radradra_semi Woof woof 🔥
— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) September 17, 2023
Records were meant to broken. History has been created.. @SimonRaiwalui and the boys take a bow!!. This is what Rugby is all about!!. Vanua Domoni na Noqu vanua!!. 🇫🇯❤️🇫🇯❤️. @fijirugby #RWC2023 #AUSvFIJ #Aus #fij
— nemzy (@nemani_nadolo) September 17, 2023
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.