Wallabies: Careers ended after World Cup debacle

The next time the Wallabies turn out to play the team will look vastly different to the one staring at a shock early World Cup exit, which will be the “end of the line” for some players.

Assistant coach Dan Palmer conceded as much as the players enjoyed a three-day break before returning to training, with their progression to the quarter-finals hanging on the result of the clash between Fiji and Portugal.

Only an unlikely Portugal win by eight points or more will be enough for the Australians to avoid the country’s first World Cup exit before the finals.

While Rugby Australia chief executive, and former Wallaby, Phil Waugh said now was not the time to sack coach Eddie Jones despite the disastrous tournament and ongoing rumours about his links to Japan, the fate of many players could be different.

There are several senior Wallabies like James Slipper and Nic White who are no chance of hanging around for another World Cup, and Jones overlooked veterans including former captain Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper for the tournament.

But Palmer said the end of the World Cup would also mark the last time some other players would wear the gold jersey.

“It is the end of the line for some people,” he said.

“This tournament will be their last with the Wallabies, so there are some mixed emotions there.”

Palmer is locked in on a three-year deal and said he and Jones were already looking to the future having taking a predominantly young squad to France.

It’s a plan that’s backfired but one Palmer said would make the Wallabies better in the future.

“It‘s a young group and if we can keep the core of this group together they can be a really strong Wallabies team,” he said.

“We’re all disappointed with how the first few weeks here have gone, but I’m sure they’ll be looking forward in terms of trying to put some better performances on the field.

“When things like this happen it’s important you spend the time to debrief, review, make sure you learn from it and get a plan together going forward. Just having the experience is not going to do anything, but spending the time going through it, talking to each other about it, talking to the coaches is the most important thing.”

Waugh called the World Cup performance “bitterly disappointing” but said RA remained committed to Jones, who refuted reports he interviewed for the Japan job.

“Eddie‘s made his comments to me that he’s committed and there’s nothing there, so I just say I’ve taken him for his word,” Waugh said.

“I’m not going to go around speculating or trying to find out where conversations are occurring.

“We‘re committed to Eddie … we’ll go through the assessment of this campaign, but I think most importantly look at the overall structure of Australian rugby.”

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