Eddie Jones says Japan are still in a “perfect” position to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals despite a heavy defeat by Scotland.
The 55-year-old coach — who masterminded the shock 34-32 victory over two-time world champions South Africa — said he had to get Japan back on course after their 45-10 hammering by Scotland on Wednesday.
Scotland now top Pool B on five points — with the bonus offensive point from the Japan game — one ahead of Japan and Samoa, while South Africa have two points.
“We’re disappointed because we felt like we could have won two games,” said Jones on Thursday.
“But the reality is we’re in a perfect situation to achieve what we came here to achieve, and that’s to make the quarter-finals,” added the Australian.
Jones, who moves on to take over South African Super Rugby side Western Stormers after the World Cup, said he had made mistakes for the Scotland game.
“We weren’t good enough, under the circumstances,” said Jones.
“In retrospect, I got a number of things wrong: I got selection wrong; I didn’t have the players mentally right for the game.
“They are all my responsibilities. I take full responsibility for the defeat and performance.
“Maybe the players have lost a little focus, so it’s my job to get the focus back.
“We had some players who just didn’t back up very well from the previous game. And that’s my mistake, so I have to get the selection right for the next game,” added Jones.
Jones, who guided Australia to a heartbreaking last second loss in extra-time in the 2003 final on home turf and was an adviser to the Springbok team that won the 2007 edition, said he wasn’t worrying about Japan perhaps missing out on the last eight because of bonus points.
“We can’t worry about that,” said Jones.
“All we have to do is win games of rugby. If we win three games at the World Cup, we’re a 300 per cent better team than all the Japanese teams over the last 24 years.
“And if we miss out on the quarter-finals because of a bonus point, so be it.”
Japan’s fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who scored 24 points against the Springboks but missed penalties agianst Scotland, said they needed to be more consistent to compete with the elite countries on a regular basis.
“We’ve trained harder than any team in the world,” said the 29-year-old.
“Our strengths came to the fore against South Africa and our weaknesses surfaced against Scotland. For us to become a tier one nation, we need to be more consistent.” – Agence France-Presse