Ireland boss Andy Farrell insists under-fire England remain capable of representing one of the ultimate tests in world rugby ahead of a tantalising Twickenham showdown.

Farrell’s in-form side are odds-on favourites for a fifth successive victory over their rivals to stay on course for back-to-back Guinness Six Nations Grand Slams following bonus-point wins over France, Italy and Wales.

Amid ongoing criticism of their performances, Steve Borthwick’s hosts are battling to stay in title contention after suffering a 30-21 Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland last time out.

Englishman Farrell has little interest in the negativity surrounding his native country and is preparing for “one hell of a battle” on Saturday.

“I’ve no doubt that England would have loved to have put the best performance out against Scotland and come away with the victory there,” he said.

“But I’ve no doubt now that over the last two weeks that concentrates their mind to have another chance to have a crack at us.

“You expect them to be at their best and if they’re at their best you expect them to be as hard as anyone in world rugby to beat.”

England were two minutes away from reaching the World Cup final in October but have struggled to fully convince since Borthwick succeeded Eddie Jones in December 2022.

“I don’t get involved with the criticism at all,” continued Farrell. “I don’t look at it.

“I look at the individuals the way that they’re playing, the coaching staff that they got, the plan that they’ve got, a fantastic side that is going to be preparing to give it everything they’ve got at the weekend, so that makes them unbelievably dangerous.

“We just prepare for them to be at their best and if that’s the case it’s going to be one hell of a battle.”

Ireland twice lost to Jones’ England in 2020 – the first year of Farrell’s reign – but have since dominated the fixture, including clinching last year’s championship clean sweep with a 29-16 success in Dublin.

Extending the winning streak could see the visitors retain their crown with a fixture to spare.

While Farrell was not entirely satisfied with his side’s performances in their last two Six Nations wins over the Red Rose, he refused to rule out another fragmented affair this weekend.

“I’m not Mystic Meg, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he replied, when asked if he was confident of avoiding a repeat of the disjointed displays.

“You take every game on it’s own course really and judge it and England did very well at slowing us down last year.

“There were a lot of stoppages within the game and it wasn’t just errors, the game was slow.

“Whether that’s a tactic of theirs or not, I don’t know, but we’ll have to expect more of the same I would have thought.”

Farrell won eight England caps during his playing days and later served his country as a coach under Stuart Lancaster before being let go by Jones following a dismal home World Cup in 2015.

The former dual-code international dismissed any notion of sentiment as he prepares for his latest Twickenham return.

“It’s no different to any other game,” said Farrell, who has recalled fit-again full-back Hugo Keenan in place of Ciaran Frawley in the only change to his starting XV.

“We, and certainly I, concentrate on the week ahead and this game is no more important than the first game in Marseille or no more important than the Italy game or the Wales game at home.

“It’s another chance for us to go out there and show the best of ourselves, albeit a tough old task.

“Everyone knows it’s a tough place to go and get a victory. But that’s the challenge in front of us every week.”

Sam Underhill is savouring his England revival having feared his international career might already be over.

Underhill is poised to win his 34th cap in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham after returning to favour under Steve Borthwick – a comeback he views as a personal triumph.

Still only 27, the big-hitting Bath flanker missed 20 successive Tests from the second match of the 2022 tour to Australia because of a combination of concussion and selection.

But a sliding doors moment arrived when Jack Willis sustained a neck injury in last autumn’s World Cup and Underhill was propelled straight into the back row for the bronze final against Argentina.

A defensive masterclass consisting of 24 tackles resulted in the man of the match award and now that he has played four consecutive Tests, he grants himself a moment of recognition.

“It’s been class. All I wanted to do was to get back into this team and, if I’m perfectly honest, I was doubtful that that would happen,” Underhill said.

“This is the first time I’ve done a full campaign with Steve, under him as a coach. I played in the Aussie tour and then didn’t I play again until the third-fourth play-off, which was 18 months.

“My aim personally was to get back here. Now that I am, as a player you’re constantly looking for challenges, or things to go wrong or not be going that well.

“Whereas actually now, I am where I want to be and while I want to keep on improving, I have taken a moment to say to myself, ‘hey, you’re doing it, well done’.


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“I’m not just content to be here, I want to win with this team and help and perform as well as I can for them. It’s been class.”

Underhill’s standing among his team-mates was evident in July when Ben Earl spoke of the “shock” that rippled through the squad when the destructive openside was dropped early in the build-up to the World Cup.

As one of half of Eddie Jones’ ‘Kamikaze Kids’ who lit up Japan 2019, he was expected to travel to France having proven he can thrive on the greatest stage of all.

Instead, he was consigned to playing in the Premiership Rugby Cup for Bath in what was a test of his ability to rationalise the vagaries of selection.

“It would be remiss of me, and certainly any player, to think that they have to be in any team,” Underhill said.

“I respect the other players too much to say ‘I should be there’. A decision’s going to have to be made at some point, someone’s going to miss out.

“But someone missing out doesn’t mean they are a bad player. You’re not a better player for being picked than not being picked, or for getting a contract or not getting a contract. That’s the hard thing to get your head around sometimes.

“A lot of people talk about being process-driven but that’s easier said than done. When you aren’t picked, the ability to think that this isn’t actually a reflection of where I am, is important but tough.

“You’re allowed to be disappointed if you’re not selected, you’re allowed to be upset. What isn’t great for you is if you then let that affect your behaviour and let that affect your actions that come afterwards.”

Borthwick names his team to face Ireland at lunchtime on Thursday with England looking to bounce back after a comprehensive defeat to Scotland in round three.

Eddie Jones admitted he “felt terrible” about Australia’s World Cup failure but insisted he had no guilt about the process that saw him return as Japan boss after stepping down from his post with the Wallabies.

At a press conference on Thursday, the 63-year-old faced more questions about how and when he first made contact with the Japanese Rugby Football Union about replacing Jamie Joseph, having repeatedly denied reports about contact with the JRFU that first emerged during the World Cup.

Former England coach Jones said he had not interviewed for the job until this month, and that a Zoom call with recruiters on August 25, before the start of the World Cup, was to discuss his previous experience in the Japan job between 2012 and 2015 to help them frame their search.

“I didn’t do an interview before the World Cup,” the Australian said. “I was asked by the recruitment agency to share my experiences with them. The first interview I had with Japan was in December and that’s the only interview I’ve had.”

Jones returned to the Australia job in January this year, signing a contract that was due to continue through to the 2027 World Cup. But, after a poor World Cup in which Australia were knocked out in the first round for the first time in their history, he used a break clause to leave for Japan.

“With Australia I signed for five years and we had a plan to take them to two World Cups,” Jones said. “There were things that needed to happen in Australia to change the system we had. I agreed with the chairman on a plan on what we were going to do to do that, they needed finances to change the system.

“After one year there was a break in my contract with Australia Rugby on whether they could fulfil those commitments. I felt without them being able to fulfil those commitments we wouldn’t be able to develop talent to the fullest extent and I decided then I wanted to move on.”

Asked if he needed to apologise to Australia fans, Jones said: “I gave everything I could for that short period of time and it wasn’t good enough…I wish Australia all the best.

“I feel terrible about the results in Australia, I wanted to go back and change Australia so I feel terrible. I don’t feel any guilt at all about this process…

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can’t control their opinion. All I can control is what I did and it sits well with me. I don’t have a problem with it. If people feel like that, that’s their judgement, I can’t control that.”

Jones will take charge of a Japan team that also failed to get out of the first round in France, finishing third in Pool D, and said his goal is to overhaul the structure of the Japanese game to best play to their strengths, getting universities and club teams all pulling in the same direction.

“I’m honoured and privileged and looking forward to the task of creating a Japan side that has real identity and a point of difference,” said Jones, whose mother and wife are Japanese. “I think any great team in any sport, it doesn’t matter what jersey they play in, you can clearly see the team they are.”

Eddie Jones has been appointed as Japan head coach for the second time.

The former England boss will take up his post on January 1, the Japan Rugby Football Union announced.

Jones stepped down from his role as Australia head coach after a dismal World Cup showing in France.

He was first linked with the Japan job in September, but repeatedly denied those reports.

The 63-year-old coached Japan from 2012 to 2015, famously masterminding a stunning victory over 2015 World Cup opponents South Africa in Brighton.

Eddie Jones was announced as England’s first ever overseas rugby union head coach on this day eight years ago.

The Australian took the role on a four-year deal starting in December 2015.

Jones, a former Australia and Japan coach, replaced Stuart Lancaster, who paid the price when England became the first host nation to be eliminated from the group stage in a dismal Rugby World Cup campaign.

As part of Jones’ negotiations with the Rugby Football Union, compensation had to be paid to the Stormers for the early release from his long-term contract with the Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise.

“The opportunity to take the reins in possibly the world’s most high-profile international rugby job doesn’t come along every day,” said Jones, who had guided Japan to a remarkable victory over South Africa in their opening World Cup Pool B fixture.

“I’m now looking forward to working with the RFU and the players to move beyond the disappointment England suffered at the World Cup and hope to build a new team that will reflect the level of talent that exists within the English game.

“I believe the future is bright for England.”

Under Jones’ leadership, England went on to complete a first Grand Slam in 13 years as they claimed the 2016 Six Nations title and then secured a 3-0 Test series victory in Australia.

England beat New Zealand to reach the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, where they were defeated by South Africa, while they were also Six Nations champions in 2017 and 2020.

Jones was sacked in December 2022 after a poor run of results.

Eddie Jones insists Marcus Smith is “not a full-back” and England must utilise the Harlequins talent at outside-half to get the best out of him.

England deployed Smith at full-back in during the World Cup in France, including their quarter-final victory over Fiji.

Smith was injured in the first half of that game and subsequently missed the semi-final defeat to South Africa, but England boss Steve Borthwick could opt to continue playing him there with skipper Owen Farrell and George Ford strong options at 10.

Former England boss Jones, who this week resigned from his post as Australia head coach, said: “Look at Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand outside-half), he is 29, experienced and he plays a great World Cup.

“Marcus is 24, he has got a lot of learning to do but unless he plays he never gets that learning.

“At some stage you have got to take a bit of pain if you play a guy like him. He is a good player, a very good player but he is not a full-back.

“That is up to Steve, but if you want to develop him as a player of course he has got to play 10.”

Jones led England to three Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2016, and to the final of the 2019 World Cup during his reign between 2015 and 2022.

The 63-year-old was appointed Australia head coach for a second time in January 2023, just one month after the Rugby Football Union sacked him for a poor run of results in which England had won just five of 12 Tests in 2022.

Asked at a Barbarians pre-match press conference, in which he will take joint charge of the invitation team against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, how far he could have taken England at the World Cup, Jones replied: “That’s not a question. That’s a dream.”

On England’s campaign, he added: “They were really competitive. They fought hard and played tough.

“Steve did a really good job, he went back to English rugby which suited the tournament.”

Jones insisted his role as Australia head coach would have been compromised had he stayed in the job.

He will officially depart the position on November 25 after Australia failed to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

“Post the World Cup there was always going to be a decision to be made whether we were going to change Australian rugby or not,” said Jones, who was reportedly interviewed by the Japanese Rugby Football Union before the tournament over becoming their head coach.

“I went in with a plan and had a commitment from Rugby Australia what that looked like.

“When the unity of where we were going wasn’t the same, not because of the lack of desire from Rugby Australia but there’s other forces at play, then the only thing I could do was resign.

“Obviously the results are disappointing, but I went in there with a plan to change Australian rugby, which not only involves the team but the system to put it together.

“When you’ve had 20 years of unsuccessful rugby that’s because of the system. I went in with a plan of how to change the system and that’s unable to be changed. I felt my job would be compromised for the next four years, which I wasn’t prepared to do.”

Jones insists his future in coaching is “up to others”, but he has ruled out the idea of coaching the British and Irish Lions on their 2025 tour of Australia.

He said: “I have moved from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere.

“I had my go with England, I loved coaching England, and I wouldn’t want to be involved in the Lions. Not at all.”

Eddie Jones said he wanted to continue as head coach of Australia and has not had a job offer from Japan after his resignation was confirmed.

Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh said they had reached a “sensible” agreement with the former England coach as his nine months in the job came to an end.

Speaking to Channel 9 in Australia, Jones said he “never” had a job offer from Japan and criticised media reports of an interview ahead of a World Cup campaign which saw Australia crash out in the group stages.

“I’ve got no job to go to, no job offer,” he said. “My commitment to Australian rugby has been 100%. I did want to go on. Coaching a team is a bit like being in a marriage, you need commitment from both sides.

“I was committed to change the team. Rugby Australia at the moment cannot activate the changes, financial and political, to make real change in Australian rugby.”

He continued: “I don’t like to be in projects where I don’t think they can really get to where they need to get to and I’ve made that decision.

“Rugby Australia probably doesn’t think that and that’s where the unity of our project is not in the place it needs to be.

“Sometimes you go in the bank and blow it up but you don’t come out with the money.”

Former Wallabies flanker Waugh said he “took Eddie on his word” when he denied reports linking him with Japan.

Talking to a press conference in Sydney, Waugh said: “Our focus will be reconnecting with the Australian public rather than where Eddie’s going to be.

“We’ve come to a sensible conclusion, both for Eddie and for Rugby Australia.

“I don’t think it changes the position we’re at now, whether Eddie was to stay or go.

“This is hopefully a low point and a chance to reset. The most important thing is to unite.”

Jones will officially leave his role on November 25 and Waugh said Rugby Australia would take “however long it takes” to ensure they got the “best possible coach”.

He refused to be drawn on the position of chairman Hamish McLennan, who has faced criticism for replacing Dave Rennie with Jones on a five-year deal in January – weeks after he had been dismissed by England.

“Ultimately the board is responsible for this decision,” he said. “It’s speculation where we would have been if we had not made that call and Dave had stayed on.

“The results were not up to expectation. The board has made some bold calls. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… where we ended up was not good enough.”

Rugby Australia earlier confirmed Jones’ resignation as head coach following the Wallabies’ failure to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

“Rugby Australia can confirm that it has accepted the resignation of Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones, and he will depart the position on 25 November 2023,” a statement from the governing body read.

“Rugby Australia thanks Eddie for his commitment to the Wallabies in 2023, and wishes him the best in his future endeavours.

“Announcements regarding the future of the Wallabies coaching staff will be made in due course.”

McLennan had already vowed to continue in his role, telling the Sydney Morning Herald in a statement: “I came to rugby to find a way to fix it when it all fell over and despite the sad Eddie situation, this is another hurdle we’ll overcome.

“I want to stay to deliver the 2027 World Cup in Australia. That has always been the big prize for Australian rugby.

“More destabilisation will just make matters worse, just when we’re about to break through. Life is not a continuous line of perfect calls and success.”

Jones won just two of nine Tests in charge against Georgia and Portugal in the World Cup where they suffered losses to Fiji and Wales.

The chairman of Rugby Australia has said he will not quit following the resignation of coach Eddie Jones.

Rugby Australia has yet to officially announce Jones’ departure in the wake of the Wallabies’ failure to reach the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup, but Hamish McLennan vowed to continue in his role as he described the “sad Eddie situation” as a “hurdle we’ll overcome”.

The former England coach’s departure just nine months into a five-year contract has been widely reported in Australia amid further speculation he is heading for a second spell in charge of Japan.

McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald in a statement: “I came to rugby to find a way to fix it when it all fell over and despite the sad Eddie situation, this is another hurdle we’ll overcome.

“I want to stay to deliver the 2027 World Cup in Australia. That has always been the big prize for Australian rugby.

“More destabilisation will just make matters worse, just when we’re about to break through. Life is not a continuous line of perfect calls and success.”

McLennan played a key role in bringing Jones back for a second stint in charge of Australia, the 63-year-old replacing Dave Rennie just a month after being sacked by England following five wins in 12 Tests in 2022.

But his return turned sour with just two wins in nine Tests – against Georgia and Portugal in the World Cup where they suffered losses to Fiji and Wales.

The failure to get out of the group stages for the first time came against a background of Jones denying he took part in an interview with the Japanese Rugby Football Union, both during and after the World Cup.

Despite multiple news outlets reporting that he was poised to meet officials in Japan next month for a second interview, Jones has repeatedly told the media that he was committed to Australian rugby.

Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: “(I) gave it a run. Hopefully be the catalyst for change.

“Sometimes you have to eat s**t for others to eat caviar further down the track.”

Eddie Jones has resigned as Australia head coach, according to reports in the country.

The 63-year-old former England boss was in charge of a disastrous World Cup campaign, which saw Australia fail to reach the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

During the tournament in France it was reported that Jones had held talks to take over Japan for a second time, despite being less than than one year into a five-year contract which was set to expire after the 2027 World Cup.

Following the reports, Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: “(I) gave it a run. Hopefully be the catalyst for change.

“Sometimes you have to eat s**t for others to eat caviar further down the track.”

There was no confirmation from Rugby Australia on Sunday morning.

England second row Ollie Chessum insists revenge is not a motivating factor for Saturday’s World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

The rivals collide for the sixth time in the tournament’s history with the most recent of those meetings taking place in Yokohama four years ago when Eddie Jones’ side were toppled 32-12 in the final.

Having demolished New Zealand a week earlier, England were expected to topple the Springboks but instead they were off the pace from the start and overwhelmed as a consequence.

There should be at least eight survivors from that starting XV who take the field for the rematch at Stade de France, but Chessum denied there was a score to be settled.

“It hasn’t been mentioned much, certainly by me anyway. I wasn’t here in 2019 so it doesn’t motivate me,” the Leicester second row said.

“We have got a new group of players now who are quite happy to leave that in the past and focus on what we can do as this new England group.”

Predictions of the semi-finals being comprised entirely of Six Nations sides have failed to materialise with England the sole European representative and the only unbeaten team left in the competition.

They face one of the great South Africa sides who have been installed as strong favourites to emulate New Zealand by winning back-to-back World Cups in the wake of their victory over France in the previous round.

Defence coach Kevin Sinfield has said that England were “in awe of the physicality they brought” against the hosts and Chessum insisted the Springboks must be matched in the forward exchanges.

“These are the games you want to be a part of – against the biggest teams on the biggest stage in the biggest competition,” Chessum said.

“They have some unbelievable players in their pack. They bring an exceptional level of physicality. It’s up to us to go out on the weekend and compete against that.

“South Africa are unbelievable across the board and we have got to be the same, if not better.

“We are definitely hoping for another step from us. That’s been the nature of the competition. Week by week we have grown as a group and got better in various aspects of our game.

“It’s important that we bring the physicality, but also the level of execution as well.”

England have a settled team and will make only minimal changes to the starting XV that overcame Fiji in the quarter-finals.

The biggest area of debate is at full-back where Steve Borthwick is weighing up the high ball and positional expertise of Freddie Steward against the cutting edge in attack provided by Marcus Smith.

Smith, a converted fly-half, has made only two starts and three replacement appearances in the position and his lack of experience could be exposed by South Africa’s accomplished kicking game.

Owen Farrell’s impressive display against Fiji appears to have brought his duel with George Ford for the number 10 jersey to a conclusion, but Kyle Sinckler could return at tighthead prop.

Fly-half Handre Pollard says the pressure of representing South Africa at the World Cup is a privilege as he bids to inflict more misery on England.

Pollard kicked 22 points in the 2019 final to guide the Springboks to glory with a 32-12 win and still remembers the disappointment etched on the faces of Eddie Jones’ men.

The fit-again Leicester playmaker is competing with Manie Libbok to start Saturday’s Paris semi-final after initially being overlooked for his country’s squad due to a calf injury.


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Pollard expects England, now led by Jones’ successor Steve Borthwick, to take their intensity and physicality to a “whole new level” but insists the heavily-fancied reigning champions are ready for it.


“You could see on their faces four years ago the disappointment and I’ve been part of a squad that’s fallen out in a semi-final in a World Cup (in 2015) and it sits with you the rest of your life,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things you look back (on) and regret and maybe think you could have done differently, and I’m sure they will come with that mindset this weekend.

“I think they will be ruthless, I think they will take their intensity and physicality to a whole new level.

“But that being said, we’re prepared for that, we’re ready for that and we enjoy that.

“That’s always a part of the game we love and if there’s going to be beef, there’s going to be beef.

“It’s Test rugby, it’s 80 minutes and we’ve just got to go out and play the game.”

South Africa are seeking to reach their fourth World Cup final, having lifted the trophy in 1995, 2007 and 2019.

Pollard believes the Springboks’ enviable ability to deliver when it really matters can partly be attributed to adversity some players face during childhood.

“It’s just the way we’re brought up,” he said. “We love it.

“It’s not always been easy for a lot of our guys in our squad growing up so when we get to this position and get to this point where there should be a lot of pressure on us, we refer back to it a lot, this is not really pressure, this is more privilege to be a part of these occasions.

“I think our game model and the way we play the game suits World Cups pretty well. We’re comfortable in this environment.

“As a group we just enjoy it, really enjoy that pressure. We always say it’s a privilege to have this pressure on our shoulders playing for our country.”

South Africa progressed to the last four by upsetting hosts France 29-28 on Sunday.

That epic contest included Cheslin Kolbe successfully charging down a Thomas Ramos conversion and Damian Willemse calling for a scrum off a mark inside his own 22.

Earlier in the tournament, the Springboks attracted attention for a bold selection of a seven-one split of forwards and backs on their bench for the Pool B loss to Ireland.

Pollard says players fully embrace the innovative tactics cooked up by director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber.

“Nothing that they do is for no reason, it’s all thought of, it’s all tick-list planned,” he said.

“We trust them because they’ve earned our trust over the years from what they’ve done and how they’ve prepared.

“So when they come up with these ideas, there are no questions asked.

“They give us a reason why we do whatever we do and then we just back it and we’re all in and we all just trust each other, players to coaches and coaches to players.”

Eddie Jones has committed his future to coaching Australia and again denied speculation linking him with a return to Japan.

Australia crashed out of the Rugby World Cup at the group stage for the first time after defeats to Fiji and Wales, but the former England coach insists he has no plans to move.

“I’m staying mate,” he told reporters in Australia. “I’ve always been committed to Australian rugby, I want to leave it in a better place, and that’s still the job.

“It’s not absolutely my decision. We play in a game where the coach doesn’t decide how long they stay.

“We’ve got a review going forward and we’ll see what happens at the end of the review.”

Jones, who took over from Dave Rennie in January a month after being sacked by England, said he had “no idea” where the story came from about him speaking to Japan about a coaching role.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone, mate,” he said.

Rugby Australia has announced an independent review into the World Cup performance, but Jones believes his decision to select a young team will pay dividends when Australia hosts the next World Cup in 2027.

“I went to the World Cup, came in (with) a short period of time, had to make a decision on the team, made a decision we needed to go with youth,” he said.

“And whilst, the results at the World Cup weren’t the results we wanted, I think I’ve left the Australian team in a great position to go on to 2027.

“We had the courage to go with a younger squad and I think this squad is going to stand Australia in good stead. We have the nucleus of a really good team.”

He continued: “We just weren’t good enough, mate. You’ve just got to watch the quarter-finals on the weekend.

“We’re not at that level and we can’t pretend to be at that level, but can we be at that level by 2027? Yes we can.”

Eddie Jones believes he is still the right person for the job after his Australia side capitulated against Wales to leave their Rugby World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

Jones had said before the crucial Pool C clash he had no doubt his team would win the game.

But Wales rammed those words down his throat with a dominant 40-6 success in Lyon, with two Ben Donaldson penalties Australia’s only scoring acts.

The defeat, following last week’s setback against Fiji, left the Wallabies facing a humiliating pool stage exit.

Jones apologised for his side’s performance but is confident he can turn things around.

“Firstly, I would just like to apologise to all the Australian supporters. Our performance was not up to the standard that was required,” the former England boss 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.

“I am a proud Australian. I hate to see Australian rugby do as poorly as we have been doing, particularly under my reign.

“I think I have got the ability to turn things around. I was hoping we would be able to do it by now, but we haven’t been able to.

“I take full responsibility, I haven’t done a good enough job and I disappointed about that.

“A process unfortunately takes times, takes some pain. Sometimes it takes more pain than it does pleasure.

“While it looks at the moment like it’s a shambles, I can guarantee it is not.”

Dominant Wales booked a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after crushing Australia 40-6 and leaving Eddie Jones’ team close to pool-stage elimination.

A third successive Pool C victory sent Wales into the last-eight for a fourth successive World Cup under head coach Warren Gatland.

They are guaranteed to top the group if they defeat Georgia next month, setting up a likely quarter-final clash against Argentina in Marseille.

Wales overcame the early loss of injured fly-half Dan Biggar to boss Australia in every key department and coast home through tries from scrum-half Gareth Davies, centre Nick Tompkins and captain Jac Morgan, while Biggar, who kicked an early conversion, saw his replacement Gareth Anscombe boot 23 points.

It was Wales’ record win against Australia, overtaking a 25-point margin in 1975, and former England boss Jones will be left to face the music as the Wallabies lurch towards World Cup oblivion.

The Wallabies boss said on Friday he had no doubt Australia would win the game, yet Wales rammed those words down his throat, with two Ben Donaldson penalties Australia’s only scoring acts.

It was an outstanding display by Gatland’s team as they delivered the goods through a performance that bristled with confidence, power and accuracy.

Gatland named the team that accounted for Fiji in their World Cup opener, with lock Adam Beard winning his 50th cap in a line-up skippered by flanker Morgan.

Australia showed three changes from the side beaten by Fiji last weekend as full-back Andrew Kellaway, scrum-half Tate McDermott and flanker Robert Leota were all handed starts.

Wales blasted out of the blocks and were ahead after just three minutes when Morgan broke through in midfield and Davies ran a brilliant supporting line before gathering the pass and diving over.

Biggar converted, with Wales asking immediate questions of Australia’s confidence.

The Wallabies then responded through a concerted spell of pressure inside Wales’ 22, before Biggar took a blow and required treatment and Donaldson kicked a short-range penalty that made it 7-3.

Biggar could not shake off what appeared to be a shoulder problem, being forced to leave the pitch after just 12 minutes and replaced by Anscombe.

A second Donaldson penalty cut the gap to a point as the Wallabies fought for their World Cup lives.

Anscombe hit the post with a 19th-minute penalty, but he made no mistake off the tee just two minutes later as Wales moved 10-6 ahead.

It was a fast and furious contest, and Wales had to defend resiliently at times as Australia utilised powerful back-row runners Leota and Rob Valetini.

Anscombe’s second successful penalty 12 minutes before half-time opened up a seven-point gap, and then he completed a hat-trick before Wales attacked from halfway and almost breached Australia’s defence through wing Louis Rees-Zammit.

Wales took a 10-point lead into the interval, and they were good value as the prize of a quarter-final place drew closer.

Wales extended their advantage just two minutes into the second period when Australia conceded a scrum penalty and Anscombe duly obliged with three points.

The Wallabies’ lineout also started to go astray, and Wales were turning the screw through a dominant pack superbly marshalled by Morgan and lock Will Rowlands.

And they claimed a second try after 48 minutes when Anscombe’s pinpoint chip over the top of Australia’s defensive line led to Tompkins touching down, with Anscombe converting to leave the Wallabies 26-6 adrift.

Two more Anscombe penalties took Wales past 30 points, and they were now almost toying with their hapless opponents.

Australia had no answer in the set-piece area, with Jones being loudly booed each time he appeared on the stadium’s giant screens.

Gatland was able to ring the changes with his team in so much control, and Anscombe dropped a goal 10 minutes from time that rubbed salt into gaping Australian wounds.

Wales fans were jubilant, and Morgan scored try number three from a driven lineout as Gatland’s men cruised to a remarkable landslide triumph.

Former coach Eddie Jones has pointed the finger at the Rugby Football Union for England’s current crisis.

England’s troubled World Cup preparations hit a new low when they lost to Fiji last weekend, which was the fifth defeat in their last six matches.

They have subsequently slipped to their lowest ranking in 20 years and expectations of a promising campaign in France over the next two months are low.

It is a rapid decline from the last World Cup in 2019, where Jones took them to the final. And he believes while current coach Steve Borthwick is coming under pressure, the governing body is responsible for failing to produce the next generation of talent.

“It’s a difficult situation, like you’ve got an ageing team,” Jones, who left his position with the RFU in 2022 and will lead his home country Australia into the tournament, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

“Anyone who knows anything about sport can see that and then you’ve got new players coming in. Some of them have come through and done really well, like a Freddy Stewart, others are still finding their feet, like a Marcus Smith.

“You look at the results of England over the last five years but they’re not producing quality players.

“And so everyone looks at the head coach and let’s blame the head coach. But the onus on producing quality players is the RFU and that hasn’t happened.

“You’ve got to look at why you’re not bringing talent through, then you’ve got to look at why your talent development systems are not doing that.

“(It’s) because the system’s not right. What needs to change? Where’s the gap? And that’s the responsibility of the RFU and it’s not for me to give them answers.”

If England make it through to the quarter-final, Jones’ Australia could be the opponents.

But the 63-year-old does not fear a reunion.

“I’m only worried about them if we play them in the quarter-final mode,” he said. “They’re a team that I coached for seven years, so I look back at them with affection. I like the players. I’d like to see them do well, but obviously not do well against us.

“I wouldn’t feel any affection for England at that time. I can tell you.”

Asked if he was sad about his departure nine months ago, he replied: “No, not at all. I’ve had a fantastic run. Seven years for an Australian coaching England.

“It’ll never be done again. Maybe there’ll never be a non-English man coaching England again.

“And at the end of the day there’s nothing to argue about, nothing to be disappointed about. Move on, get on with your next job and you look back at your previous team with affection, which I still do with England.”

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