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- The Wallabies were criticized by the Australian press after their crushing defeat by the Springboks.
- Australia lost 43-12 in the opening match of the Rugby Championship at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
- Coach Eddie Jones described it as an “embarrassment” after their performance.
Coach Eddie Jones said he had endured a “long day at the office” in Pretoria after a disastrous start to his second spell in charge of the Wallabies, with Australian media describing their defeat by South Africa as an “embarrassment”.
An optimist before the opening game of the Rugby Championship against the underpowered Springboks, he watched his team fall apart 43-12 On Saturday night, he conceded two penalties and two players received yellow cards.
“We just got beat,” he admitted after losing Australia for the eighth consecutive time against Loftus Versfeld since first playing there 60 years ago.
“We got really beaten on set pieces. We got really beaten on the earn line. And we got really beaten in the air. And when you don’t win any of those contests, it’s going to be a long day at the office, which it was for us tonight.”
An Australian newspaper described the performance as an “unrepeatable” embarrassment.
“Even before the mismatch, Jones’ choices against the Springboks left many long-suffering Wallabies fans wondering what he was thinking,” the broadsheet said.
“Wholesale changes have to be made ahead of Argentina next weekend in Sydney because nothing wakes players up more than falling.”
The Sydney Morning Herald was equally scathing.
“We allowed ourselves to believe in Eddie’s miracle,” she said. “The reality of the wallaby family is more real.”
“In the end, the Wallabies’ performance in Pretoria showed no real sign of progress from the (Dave) Rennie years – particularly the discipline – and in many areas, until the Australian side declined.”
Jones acknowledged that “there weren’t a lot of positives”.
“We went out there to play at a little pace and we managed to do that for 20 minutes,” he said.
“But we couldn’t convert any of the pressure we put on the Springboks into points, and then, of course, they came back and every time they got a chance, they scored.
“Once they win the set piece, they use their top players, there is no better team than South Africa, once they get the advantage they keep playing over you.”
Jones inherited in January from the sacked New Zealander Rene, a team that lost nine of its 13 internationals last season.
But the 63-year-old insisted he could not imagine such a dismal course to happen this season as they prepare for the Rugby World Cup in France from September 8.
Looking forward to their second Rugby Championship match, against Argentina in Sydney on 15 July, Jones said he was encouraged by the work against South Africa.
“However, we have to be more consistent with our set-pieces. Our dribbling has to improve and we have to find ways to get past the winning line.
The coach, who was also in charge of Australia for four years from 2001 and led them to the 2003 World Cup Final, added: “If we fix these issues, we’ll get the money back against Argentina.”
Jones singled out Australian Marika Corupetti and substitute full-back Carter Gordon for praise.
“I thought Marika was fantastic and Carter, who came into his first Test in a difficult situation, showed he had a bright future.”
Argentina fared almost as badly as Australia in the first round, conceding seven tries to New Zealand in a 41-12 loss in Mendoza and avoiding last place on points difference.