Wallabies captain Will Skelton didn’t ask embattled coach Eddie Jones about reports linking him to Japan, confident the coach was committed to Australia with a full review of the failed World Cup campaign set to be launched.
Jones emphatically rebuked the suggestion he had done an interview with Japan rugby officials before the World Cup following the Wallabies’ horror loss to Wales that has consigned Australia to its worst ever World Cup result.
In the aftermath, which included a debrief of the poor performance, Skelton said the issue around Jones and Japan was not addressed and was adamant it was not a distraction in the ill-fated campaign because the coach was a “man of his word”.
“No, it wasn’t addressed and no I don’t think it was a distraction,” Skelton said.
“I think it’s something that’s been knocked on the head there … Eddie’s denied it with us. We have full trust in him also. I don’t think it was a distraction leading into the game.
“I don’t have to (ask Jones directly). I heard the press conference last night. I trust in there what he says, he’s a man of his word. He’s got the full support of the group.
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“At the moment we are in a World Cup in France, so we are definitely focused on this at the moment. What happens after that is out of our control.”
Skelton was adamant Jones had his full backing after taking a broom to the squad and casting aside several veterans, including former captain Michael Hooper, which contributed to the World Cup fiasco.
“I think his long-term vision and what he wants Australian rugby to be back to, that’s a positive, the way he is around the group. I think you see in the media, he has his persona around them,” Skelton said.
“He‘s a fantastic coach with a massive rugby IQ that we’re learning every day when we’re working with him.
“He simplifies the game of rugby for us and unfortunately we couldn’t perform up to those standards on the weekend and the weeks gone by to really show that coaching that’s been happening in the last few months. That’s on the players and that’s on us owning that and putting our hands up as well.”
Skelton said he was willing to take part in a full review of the disastrous World Cup campaign, with the details of who will participate and what it will look into yet to be announced.
Players will be included and Skelton, a surprise choice as captain among many surprise Jones selections, said he’d share his perspective on how it all went so badly wrong.
“That stuff will be out of my hands, but if they ask me questions I’ll be honest,” he said.
“I’m not too sure how that will all transpire.
“If the powers that be think that the review needs to happen it‘ll happen and you (the media) will probably get to find whatever you want to find.
“I‘m sure every player would co-operate.”
Skelton missed the losses first to Fiji and then Wales through injury along with star prop Taniela Tupou and doesn’t know whether he will be play in Australia’s final pool game against Portugal next weekend, which could mean he has potentially played his last World Cup match.
“I think I‘m on the wrong side of the age bracket, but I’ve seen older guys go to World Cups,” he said.
“I thought that 2015 was my last World Cup.
“It’s tough. You never come into a campaign to get a couple of losses and almost end the tournament. The boys are really disappointed and gutted. We’ve got one more shot to put out a good performance and that’s what we’re focusing on now.”
Source website: www.foxsports.com.au