Eight and three are the two most important numbers to the Wallabies at the World Cup with the faintest hopes of a miracle progression now out of their hands as coach Eddie Jones again dismissed talk about his own future.
A 34-14 win over Portugal in Australia’s final pool game now means Fiji only have to lose to the same opponent by eight points or more in seven days time to take a quarter-final spot from the Wallabies who are still staring down the worst World Cup finish in the country’s history.
Portugal also have to only give up three tries to their opponents to ensure a Wallabies miracle.
Coach Eddie Jones declared his players “deserved some accolades” for putting the emotion of the previous loss to Wales behind them and getting the job done.
They, and he, will all now have three days off from what has been a gruelling and overall disappointing campaign before getting back to work training knowing their fate is out of their control.
Jones conceded that was the most disappointing aspect of Australia’s World Cup but remained adamant everything his team had experienced would benefit them as well.
“The disappointment is we haven‘t controlled our own destiny. In a pool stage you want to control your own destiny and we haven’t done that,” he said.
“As I’ve said, I take full responsibility for that. What am I pleased with? When I look at the squad and I look at the number of players that have improved individually then I am really pleased. A lot of these players have really bright futures, as this team does.
“If we keep sticking at it, keep working hard, keep focusing on what‘s important then we will be a good team and won’t have this sombreness that’s around Australian rugby at the moment.”
“All of the young guys are progressing. When you think most of them have played under 10 tests, this has been a real pivotal tournament for those guys,” he said.
“They will take away some bad memories and take away some good memories. We don‘t know if we have the chance to make more memories.
“But they will have collected some important experiences, some important knowledge and the chance to learn and get better in the future.”
Jones said he wouldn‘t’t deviate from the plan to give the players three days off and that was the only part of his future he’d confirm amid ongoing speculation about his links to Japan.
“I am going to have three days off then three days of training so I‘m heavily involved. That’s the only answer I am going to give you at this stage,” he said when asked about his commitment.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I have got to focus on coaching this week.”
Jones said the notion of supporting Portugal against the Fijian, who scraped over the line against Georgia, was moot.
“It‘s not a matter of supporting Portugal. We have done all we can,” he said.
“We can’t control the result so I am not going to spend too much time worrying about the result. We have had our go at the World Cup. We are sitting where we are.
“We accept our position and if it happens we get another chance so be it, but if doesn’t we have only got to look at ourselves.”