Rugby-Job done for Jones as Wallabies enter World Cup purgatory

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool C - Australia v Portugal - Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, France - October 1, 2023 Australia head coach Eddie Jones looks on during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Paul Childs

SAINT ETIENNE, France (Reuters) - Wallabies coach Eddie Jones said he was disappointed that Australia's World Cup destiny was no longer in their own hands but thought his players deserved credit for getting a bonus- point win against Portugal on Sunday.

The 34-14 victory left their hopes in the hands of the Portuguese, who must beat Fiji next Sunday in the final Pool C match without allowing the Pacific islanders a bonus point to keep Australia in the tournament.

Jones thought the way his players had stuck to their task despite crushing back-to-back losses to the Fijians and Wales in their last two matches was worthy of praise.

"We had one objective this week and that was to be alive. And we're still alive," Jones said.

"I'm pleased for the players. They worked really hard as they have all tournament and they deserve some accolades for their performance today.

"I'm pleased that they played with a lot of toughness, a lot of character, and at times we were clinical and times we weren't, which is where we need to improve."

The Wallabies must now wait in France until next Sunday to discover their fate.

"The disappointment is that we haven't controlled our own destiny," Jones conceded.

"In the pool stage, you want to control your own destiny and we haven't done that. As I've said before, I take full responsibility for that."

Jones said the squad would have three days off before reassembling at their training camp just in case Portugal get the job done Toulouse.

The 63-year-old refused to answer questions about his future as coach beyond that.

"What am I pleased with is the number of players that have improved individually," he added.

"A lot of these players have a really bright future and this team does have a bright future.

"If we stick at it, keep working hard and focusing on the things that are important, it will be a good team and we won't have this sombreness that's around Australian rugby at the moment."

Jones thought that was particularly true for many of the younger players who have shone despite the disappointing results.

"I think this has been a really pivotal tournament for those guys," he said.

"And they'll take away some bad memories and they'll take away some good memories, if we don't have a chance to make any more memories."

Jones joked that he might recruit Fiji-born backs Marika Koroibete and Suliasi Vunivalu to try and hamper the Fijian effort next Sunday with a drug-based drink popular in the Pacific island nation.

"I'm thinking of giving Marika and Suli my credit card," he grinned.

"Get them to go to the Fijian camp with some kava, maybe that might work."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ed Osmond)

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