Australia boss Eddie Jones was back to his box office best following his side’s opening victory at the Rugby World Cup 2023, calling out an English journalist by name after he failed to show up to the press conference.
The Wallabies kicked off their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign with a deserved win over Georgia, taking 5 crucial points into the second round of fixtures in Group C.
Crucially, the game was won for the Wallabies through the dominance of the forward pack; a front line consisting of three heavyweights – Taniela Tupou and Angus Bell, either side of Dave Porecki at hooker – allowed Australia to assert themselves on an atypically weak Georgian scrum to control the game well.
But it was Ben Donaldson, playing in the less-than-familiar fullback position who left the biggest mark on this tie, scoring two tries and finding the posts six out of seven times for a 25-point haul from 15.
Ben Donaldson contributed 25 points from fullback for the Wallabies. Image: Getty
Speaking with the media after the match, Jones was back to his box office best. The Wallabies coach struck a defiant figure during the first post-match press conference of this World Cup, who, until December last year, would have been confident he’d be sitting next to Owen Farrell instead of Will Skelton.
Jones was quick to praise his side’s discipline and the contribution of his new captain’s leadership of the team; he even joked that English referee Luke Pierce was favouring his side following a disagreement with an English journalist before the game.
“There’s a real feeling that this team could do something and you know, they’re all working for each other,” the Wallabies coach said. “So that might be one reason. Maybe Luke Pierce liked us! Where was that pommy bloke from? The Daily Telegraph? One of my favourite newspapers. Where is he? He’s not here today; I bet if we lost he’d be here. I’d have to send him an invitation. [Do you] know his name? Charles. Charles, are you out there, mate? No, no.”
Jones was right to praise the togetherness of his side, who recorded their first win of the Wallabies’ second stint in charge when it mattered most.
WATCH Eddie Jones calls out an English journalist below.
After the defeat to World Cup hosts France in the final warm-up game last month, Eddie Jones’ men had lost the first five games of Jones’ second spell in charge, and question marks surrounding Australia’s ability to score points from the boot were beginning to surface, with the inexperienced Carter Gordon skewing his first three attempts.
Ben Donaldson’s emergence on the biggest stage will be a welcomed relief for the Wallabies coach Jones who was quick to praise his player who starred in his new position.
“He trained the whole Rugby Championship at 15,” Jones said. “So we knew what he was capable of. We felt in a game like that, where there’s going to be a lot of kicking, because Georgia play very similar to France or a high-kicking team, so his long kick was invaluable. You know, he’s a very good decision maker and then obviously… his goal-kicking was first-class.”
The result puts Australia at the top of their group after the first round of fixtures; exactly where Jones wanted to be, he’s admitted. And with games to come against Fiji, Wales and Portugal, Jones will be hoping that his Wallabies side will continue to prove the doubters wrong with each passing game.
But for now, he’s clearly enjoying his media responsibilities at this year’s World Cup a little too much.
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