Eddie Jones has made changes to his starting team ahead of their match against Wales on Sunday; fly-half Carter Gordon and openside flanker Fraser McReight dropped, Tate McDermott returns to scrum-half and Andrew Kellaway will make his World Cup debut
Friday 22 September 2023 13:05, UK
Australia head coach Eddie Jones admits he may lose his job if the Wallabies are defeated by Wales on Sunday and exit at the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in their history.
Fiji recorded a shock 22-15 victory against Australia in Pool C which left the race to qualify for the quarter-finals wide-open and marked the team's sixth loss in seven Tests this year.
It was the first time the Pacific Islanders beat the Wallabies at a World Cup and the first win against them in any match since 1954.
"At the end of the World Cup there's going to be a review and given the results we've had, then maybe Australian Rugby doesn't want to keep me, that's the reality of the job I live in,” said Jones.
"I can't apologise any more guys. I'm really sorry we haven't had better results but we're trying to create a team that creates dreams for Australian Rugby.
"We're not trying to be a mediocre team, right? We want to be a really good team and to be a really good team there's some pain and there's some failure involved."
Before their fixture against Fiji on Sunday, Australia captain Will Skelton was forced to withdraw from the line-up due to injury.
Jones has since made three changes to the starting team, dropping fly-half Carter Gordon and openside flanker Fraser McReight to the bench.
Vice-captain Tate McDermott returns at scrum-half after missing the Fiji defeat due to concussion and will link up with Ben Donaldson who moves forward from full-back.
"I just feel we needed to properly freshen up the team," Jones added.
"Carter's had an opportunity, struggled a bit against Fiji and I thought that it's best for him to finish the game for us.
"Ben attacks the line well and against Wales if we can get quick ruck ball, we need a team that can attack the line."
Jones left fly-half Quade Cooper and 125-cap openside Michael Hooper out of the squad saying he had been brought into Australian Rugby to make change and "needed to move players on".
Andrew Kellaway will make his World Cup debut at full-back while hooker Dave Porecki lines up in an unchanged front five and replaces Skelton as captain.
Jones remains optimistic his squad can deliver and said: "We've got an opportunity to show on Sunday whether we can fight and really grind out to get the result we need to get and I'm confident we can."
Starting XV: 15. Andrew Kellaway, 14. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13. Jordan Petaia, 12. Samu Kerevi, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Ben Donaldson, 9. Tate McDermott, 8. Rob Valetini, 7. Tom Hooper, 6. Rob Leota, 5. Richie Arnold, 4. Nick Frost, 3. James Slipper, 2. David Porecki (captain), 1. Angus Bell
Replacements: 16. Matt Faessler, 17. Blake Schoupp, 18. Pone Fa'amausili, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Nic White, 22. Carter Gordon, 23. Suliasi Vunivalu
Australia now face a Pool C clash with Wales in Lyon on Sunday, September 24 (8pm BST). Fiji are not in action again until Saturday, September 30 when they take on Georgia in Bordeaux (4.45pm BST).