Published: 7:30 p.m. EDT, September 17, 2023 | Updated: 8:03 p.m. EDT, September 17, 2023
Eddie Jones’ strategy of prioritizing youth has come under renewed criticism after former All Blacks and NRL champion Sonny Bill Williams mentored the Wallabies following their shock 15-22 defeat to Fiji in Saint -Etienne sharply criticized.
It was the first time in 69 years that the Australians lost to Fiji in a friendly, and it was after young playmaker Carter Gordon was trapped in the second half.
Gordon was chosen over veterans Quade Cooper and Nic White for the World Cup, while Jones opted for young talent including scrum-half Tate McDermott.
Williams said Jones made a serious mistake in his selection, including by not taking Cooper to the World Cup to mentor the young playmakers.
“My take on this whole ordeal of a game is that I feel bad for Carter Gordon right now,” Williams said.
Jones has come under heavy scrutiny in his second stint as Wallabies coach, largely due to his selection and youth-first policies
Young half-timer Carter Gordon had a night to remember against Fiji and was captivated by the action midway through the second half
Williams posted the following message after the game: “You already know I’m a big fan of the Fiji boys, so I snuck in after the game to congratulate the boys on their historic win.” Keep shutting down the islands proud brothers.’
“Because he doesn’t have Quade Cooper or [Bernard] Foley is said to go back to the hotel and say, “Brother, this stuff happens, but you know you’re going to get better.” “It’s really hard to see him challenged like that,” Williams continued.
‘And [Samu] Kerevi. But I’ll call this selection what it is – we’re in a high-performance zone. And sometimes you live and die by your decisions, and unfortunately Eddie Jones was found out tonight.”
But Jones doubled down on his youth-first Wallabies mentality and hit straight back at Williams.
“When you’re a television commentator, you’re always right,” Jones said.
“Maybe I have to become a television commentator, then I’ll always be right.” Look, we went with a young team, I don’t regret anything. We are building a team for the future and we will go through some pain.
“I made the decision to play for a younger team and if that is the wrong decision, I will be held accountable.”
“But I think Australian rugby needs to move to a younger team.” “I’m willing to go through some pain to leave Australia with a team capable of doing really well at a World Cup provide.”
Williams and the Fijian players, including former NRL superstar Semi Radradra (right), celebrate the historic victory over Australia
Jones reacted angrily to a journalist who asked whether Gordon was the right choice after the Wallabies were beaten 38-7 by New Zealand in August.
“I don’t think I made it [selection] Wrong, buddy. In fact, I’m going to do it right,” Jones snapped.
“To say that as a young No. 10 in his first game [as a starter]“You were wrong when you picked him” is just bullshit, buddy.
“So anyone who asks this question knows nothing about rugby.”
“If you know anything about rugby you know that number 10 needs time on the pitch.” “If you don’t know anything about rugby then don’t talk to me.”
The Wallabies World Cup is now on the line in Lyon next Sunday (Monday AEST) in the third group game against the unbeaten Welsh.
While the Wallabies prepare to face Wales, Fiji have a two-week break before they face winless Georgia in Bordeaux.
– Watch every Test match and World Cup game ad-free, live and on-demand on the Home of Rugby. Stan Sport.