Australia players in floods of tears as Eddie Jones' axed stars speak out after Wales defeat

Australia players in floods of tears as Eddie Jones' axed stars speak out after Wales defeat

Axed Australia stars Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley have spoken out after Eddie Jones' side were thrashed 40-6 by Wales at the Rugby World Cup.

Wallabies players were left in floods of tears following the final whistle, knowing that the defeat, coupled with their loss to Fiji last weekend, puts them on the brink of a first-ever pool stage exit at the tournament.

Jones has overseen a dismal run of results since returning as Australian coach at the end of last year, with his side winning just one of the eight games they have played since he took over. Despite saying that he had "no doubt" the Wallabies would beat Wales in Lyon on Sunday, they were totally outclassed by Warren Gatland's side as they failed to get a single try on the board.

The loss has prompted a furious reaction Down Under, with fans and pundits claiming Australian rugby is at "rock bottom" and calling for the already under-fire former England boss to move on. Jones himself has admitted that he could lose his job at the end of the tournament, but insisted after the game he is committed to the cause, telling reporters: "I’ve got the ability to turn things around."

The 63-year-old's decision-making had been questioned in the lead-up to the tournament, with his call to leave longtime skipper Hooper out of his 33-man squad raising more than a few eyebrows. So too did his decision to also overlook veterans Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley as he looked to transition a young team to a new era.

Following the defeat to Wales both Hooper and Foley spoke out as they watched their team-mates, including Will Skelton, Rob Valentini and Nick Frost in tears on the pitch, with the former captain describing the result as "heartbreaking".

"I'm looking at the faces of our boys there on screen and that's a representation of how we all feel I think, they're absolutely gutted," Hooper told Stan Sport. "There's no lack of effort - obviously we're well off the pace.

"I've still got my player's hat on, I'm a part of this team, I was in here six or seven games ago too so it really hurts when you're not able to get the pay-off for all the hard work you do but also give fans and the country something to get behind.," he added. "As we saw with the Matildas earlier in the year, you want to get that 'We can do something here', and to have that ripped out from under you it's heartbreaking."

Taking to Twitter, Foley also chimed in, claiming "It didn't have to be like this". He added: "Players have always put in."

It wasn't just current players having their say, however, as Wallabies legend David Campese tweeted that the result was "rock bottom" for Australia. "I have been predicting this for years after seeing the lack of rugby IQ and skills in grassroots in Australia," he added. "I've been warning 'the powers that' be but nobody listens."

Former New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams also didn't hold back in his assessment of Australia, as he accused Jones of playing "mind games" with his young squad and labelled the loss "embarrassing", before claiming that Hooper should have been out on the field rather than working as TV pundit.

"That second-half team, they look like a team that just lost belief, they didn’t believe in themselves," he said. “They came out here, they didn’t perform at all, it was really, really disappointing.

“I feel for these boys, I feel for the fans. I want to keep it real on here, they were up against it from the start… questions need to be asked from selections to the mind games that Eddie’s been playing with these kids, these guys, these young men.

“There’s a guy (Hooper) in the studio back home that should be here right now," he added. "The proof is in the pudding, 40-6 was really embarrassing and I feel for these kids – they’re gonna carry this on for the rest of their careers and feel this until they get to come back here again and rectify it.”


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