Eddie Jones admits Australia are ‘under pressure’ ahead of crucial clash with Wales | Rugby World Cup 2023

Eddie Jones has accepted Australia are “under pressure” as they prepare for a crucial Rugby World Cup meeting with Wales.

If they fail to beat Warren Gatland’s team in Lyon on Sunday, the Wallabies will face the first group stage exit in World Cup history. In contrast, Wales are top of the group with a maximum of 10 points from two games and are heading for their fourth consecutive World Cup quarter-final appearance.

As the Welsh go about their business at their training camp in Versailles, Jones and his coaching team come to terms with their first defeats against Fiji since 1954.

“We now move on to Wales,” said Jones, the Australia head coach whose team were beaten 22-15 in Saint-Etienne on Sunday. “Those are the weeks you remember, where you’re under a lot of pressure and you have to perform well.

“We are starting to think about how we need to play against Wales. The only thing we’re worried about is Wales this week. We would love to play them tomorrow if they wanted to play.”

Wales have beaten Australia in three of the two countries’ last four meetings, while the two-time world champions will also be without injured strikers Taniela Tupou and Will Skelton, increasing the level of difficulty in a high-pressure game.

Jones said: “There are no problems with motivation. This team cares deeply about performance. We are all still looking for answers. None of us have a 100% answer, but we have an idea of ​​where the game failed.

“Wales are a completely different team. They wear you down while Fiji is the power. This is one of the biggest challenges for this team and for the coaching staff. We know how we want to play against Wales and will work really hard to get the players back on track.

“When you suffer a loss like that, it knocks you out a little bit. It blows you away emotionally and team ethically. You see shadows in every corner of the room.

“There is noise from outside that you have to deal with. That’s the challenge for the coaching staff this week, making sure they set the right tone.”

Wales are back at their training base, with only flanker Tommy Reffell and prop Henry Thomas in Gatland’s squad likely to require a fitness assessment. Reffell withdrew from Wales’ game against Portugal shortly before kick-off in Nice due to a muscle strain in his calf, while Thomas has not yet taken part in the tournament due to a thigh injury.

Malan can expect to be injured for up to six months

Namibian center back Le Roux Malan said the broken ankle and dislocation he suffered in Friday’s 71-3 loss to New Zealand was not as serious as initially feared but would still keep him out for up to six months engage in combat.

Le Roux Malan received a standing ovation after being substituted injured against the All Blacks. Photo: Christophe Ena/AP

Malan had to be treated on the pitch for 18 minutes before being carried away on a stretcher to a thunderous ovation from the Stadium de Toulouse crowd.

“It turned out a lot better than we initially thought. “We thought the tibia was broken, but it’s only been four to six months, which is unreal,” said Malan, who underwent surgery on Friday evening.

Malan received a visit from All Blacks center Anton Lienert-Brown on Sunday, who presented the Namibian with a signed New Zealand jersey. “For someone like me who has had shoulder surgery, I definitely feel his pain,” Lienert-Brown said.

“When you’re passionate and driven about a sport you love, it can be tough if you don’t stop for six months. But it’s nice to see he’s in great spirits.”

Malan was born in Windhoek but attended Paarl Boys High outside Cape Town, known for its South African internationals. He played for a time in the Durban-based Sharks’ academy, but now plays for the New England Free Jacks in Major League Rugby in the USA.

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Family affair for Gontineac

Competing in a World Cup is the pinnacle for any rugby player, but the quadrennial showpiece tournament has even greater meaning for Romania center Taylor Gontineac.

The 23-year-old’s parents met after his father Romeo, also a center player, played for Romania against his mother’s home country, South Africa, at the 1995 World Cup in Cape Town.

“It’s a family story, my parents met after that game in South Africa in 1995 and I think if it wasn’t for that game I wouldn’t be here today,” he said with a laugh after getting his chance against the Springboks to play in Bordeaux on Sunday.

Taylor Gontineac attacks for Romania against South Africa
Taylor Gontineac followed in his father’s footsteps and played for Romania against the Springboks. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

“It’s a nice little tribute for me and my family to play against South Africa, the world champions, more than 20 years after my father. It’s fantastic and a wonderful feeling.”

Gontineac senior stayed briefly in South Africa before playing rugby for 14 years in France, where his son Taylor was born, grew up and now plays for Rouen Normandie.

Although both lost to South Africa in their respective World Cups, Romeo Gontineac will retain some of the glory as his Romania side only lost 21-8 at Newlands in 1995, while Taylor was on the wrong side of a 76-0 defeat on Sunday.

De Groot suspended until the quarter-finals

All Blacks prop Ethan De Groot has been banned from New Zealand’s last two World Cup pool games after failing to convince the judiciary that his foul play in last week’s win over Namibia did not meet the red card limit .

De Groot was shown a yellow card for making contact with Adriaan Booysen’s head in the final 10 minutes of New Zealand’s 71-3 win at the Stadium de Toulouse, but this was upgraded to red after review by the televised match referee.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster had suggested that the All Blacks would argue that the challenge began as shoulder-to-shoulder contact and was therefore not a red card offence.

However, the independent panel ruled that De Groot’s failure to put his arms around his opponent meant the tackle was always illegal and the head contact meant he deserved a six-match ban. The suspension was halved due to De Groot’s previous good behavior and will be further reduced by one game if he takes part in a World Rugby coaching intervention program.

The 25-year-old idiot will therefore miss the game against Italy in Lyon on September 29 and New Zealand’s final group game against Uruguay in the same city a week later before being available for the quarter-finals. De Groot has 48 hours to appeal the decision.

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