The hits have kept coming for the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup in France with the team sinking to an all-time low in the world rankings at 10.
Following their record 40-6 loss to Wales in Lyon, which all but ended their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in history, the Australians have dropped one place on the rankings.
Eddie Jones’s men have traded places with new No.9-ranked Argentina, which is coached by ex-Wallabies boss Michael Cheika.
With Argentina picking up 1.72 points for its scrappy 19-10 win over Samoa and Australia losing two-and-a-half points in its heavy defeat, the teams have swapped rankings. That leaves the Wallabies in 10th for the first time since the rankings were introduced.
Ireland increased its standing as world No.1 on the back of its rousing win over South Africa, with France replacing the Springboks in second spot.
Cheika was at the Australian helm at the last World Cup in Japan in 2019 but quit the post immediately following its thumping 40-16 elimination in the quarter-finals by the then Jones-coached England.
Despite the disaster campaign in France this time, Jones said he had no plans to walk away from the job. He has four years left on his contract, which runs through to the 2027 tournament in Australia.
“One hundred per cent I’m committed,” Jones said.
“I came back to Australia trying to help. At the moment I am not giving much help, am I? But that doesn’t mean my commitment to helping has changed.
“Whenever you start the job you want to win games and create the best team we can but there is a process involved … it unfortunately takes times, takes some pain.
“Sometimes it takes more pain than it does pleasure, I have no doubt what I set out to do. While it looks at the moment like it’s a shambles, I can guarantee it’s not.”
Jones’s comments come after the coach denied he was interviewed to take over as Japan rugby coach just days before the tournament opener, with its current coach Jamie Joseph stepping down.
The Japan Rugby Football Union has refused to comment, saying it has a policy not to disclose any information about candidates.
Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh said he trusted Jones’s word that he had not been interviewed. Wallabies skipper Will Skelton has taken the same view.
RA chairman Hamish McLennan said he was aware of a job offer made to Jones but that the 63-year-old had turned it down.
A report out of Japan suggested that Jones may been assisting with the coaching recruitment process given his close relationship with JRFU president Masato Tsuchida.
While currently holding a role as Tokyo Sungoliath’s consulting director of rugby, Jones has had a working relationship with the club since 1997. Masato is a former player and head coach at the club.
The Wallabies were back on the training paddock on Tuesday, preparing for their final pool game against world No.16 Portugal, in Saint-Etienne on Sunday (Monday AEST).
Their World Cup dream could be officially over as early as Saturday (Sunday AEST) if pool rivals Fiji down Georgia and score four tries.
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