Rugby World Cup: Ex-Wallabies winger takes aim at Eddie Jones over Australia's struggles

Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell has taken aim at coach Eddie Jones, after Australia's defeat to Fiji at the Rugby World Cup.   

Australia suffered a first defeat to Fiji in 69 years, going down 22-15 to leave Jones' side with no room to breathe, if they're to get out of Pool C.   

They can now afford no further slip-ups and face Wales on Monday in a clash that could determine their entire World Cup fate. 

Eddie Jones.
Eddie Jones. Photo credit: Getty Images

Fronting media after the loss to Fiji, Jones has pointed the finger solely at himself, saying it was his fault Australia had fallen to a sixth defeat of 2023.   

For Mitchell, who wore the green-and-gold jersey 71 times, Jones' excuses are wearing thin.

"Let's not take away from the fact that Fiji played really well, but let's also not take away from the fact that we shouldn't have lost to Fiji," Mitchell told The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast.

"Eddie sits there and goes, 'Yeah, it's my fault. I take full responsibility'. What does that mean, though?

"It's just like an empty line in a press conference."   

Jones' decision to back youth over experience has largely - for now, at least - failed to yield immediate results.   

With the2027 World Cup at home clearly in mind, Australia's 33-man squad contained 25 players playing at the tournament for the first time.   

Most of the squad are aged 26 or younger, with just five players aged over 30, and contains the least number of test caps of all 20 teams at the World Cup.    

Those selections came at the expense of two of Australia's most experienced players - former captain Michael Hooper and first-five Quade Cooper.   

What's more, a total of six different players have led the Wallabies this year, with Mitchell questioning Jones' selections.    

"Explain some of these decisions to us, because as fans, we are all sitting here scratching our heads," Mitchell said.    

"A lot of the time, we can sit there, and defend Eddie or the Wallabies, because we can understand logic in some of these decisions, but there is none of it. He has sat there and not actually giving any explanation as to why Quade is not there, why Michael Hooper is not there.

"Come out and actually tell us, as fans. Why have you not picked these guys, because now we are seeing the result of you not picking some of these guys."   

Since taking charge of Australia in his second stint, Jones has won just one game, against Georgia in their World Cup opener earlier this month.