England coach Eddie Jones feels no sympathy for his native Australia following England’s resounding quarter-final victory over the Wallabies on Saturday.
Jones extended his winning run against countryman Michael Cheika to seven consecutive victories, with England securing a semi-final berth for the first time since the 2007 World Cup.
Jones showed little compassion for his own nation, who were beaten by England in the final 16 years ago, when he was in charge of the Wallabies.
‘It’s tough when you lose a game, particularly at this level of the World Cup,’ said Jones.
‘At this moment, not a lot of sympathy, no, because I’m enjoying the win and I think I’m allowed to enjoy the win, but maybe later in the week I will have.’
Despite the 40-16 scoreline suggesting a comfortable victory for Jones’ men, the Wallabies stayed in the game throughout, but were simply unable to break a disciplined England defence. England did well to capitalise on errors made by the Wallabies, who had their opponents under pressure during the early stages of the encounter.
‘We had to dig deep in the first 20 minutes,’ continued Jones. ‘They had a lot of possession and were attacking well; it was an important part of the game. We hung in and got the momentum back and took opportunities well and went in [at half time] in a good position.’
‘We made a couple of mistakes to let them back into the game but I was impressed by the ability of my team to refocus.’
A man-of-the-match performance by young Tom Curry, and an equally good showing from fellow flanker Sam Underhill, had Jones’ ‘Kamikaze kids’ dominating the loose-forward battle.
‘You know [Michael] Hooper and David Pocock have been at the top level for some time. I thought Tom Curry and Sam Underhill did very well, and the young fella Lewis Ludlam when he came on.
‘The effort from Billy Vunipola was outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Maybe it helped having his wife here, so we have to make sure his wife stays next week.’
In the buildup to the game, Jones called on the England side to show a samurai spirit during the clash and he was certainly satisfied with the performance by his team after the final whistle.
‘It was a do-or-die game today, and the best samurai were always the guys who had a plan but could adapt, had a calm head but were full of aggression, and I thought we were like that today. The challenge is how we get better because there is always a better samurai around the corner.’
England will face New Zealand in next week’s semi-final, while it is a disappointing end for Cheika and his men who exit the competition after making the final four years ago.
Speaking at a media conference post-game, a bitterly disappointed Cheika acknowledged the effort from his team, while also giving credit to a well-organised England outfit.
‘I am feeling very disappointed, obviously. I imagine all Australians will be,’ said Cheika.
‘We really went into the game looking to play our Australian style of footy, which we did a lot of but we were just not clinical enough to finish off opportunities. They played very well, very well organised defensively. Sometimes you have just got to suck that up and wear it, that’s life.
‘Exit is exit, it doesn’t matter if it’s at the final or quarter-final. The opponent is irrelevant. It hurts.’
Cheika refused to comment on his immediate future with his contract with Rugby Australia set to expire at the conclusion of the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign.
‘Mate, I will will be honest, it is a cruel, cruel world nowadays when you are asking that question two minutes after we’ve been knocked out of the World Cup,’ snapped a frustrated Cheika.
‘And if you find it inside you, to find a little bit of compassion for people who are hurting, to just ask the more relevant questions, because I will tell you, I came here with only one thought in my mind about winning here and that thought has just disappeared now.
‘I know that is what the papers demand, but perhaps whatever your news outlet is [you] should think about people’s feelings just for a minute. When the time comes I’ll tell them [Rugby Australia]. They don’t need to know today. It’s not going to kill them.’
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