Two-time world champion, two-time runner-up: Australia is one of the premier nations in international rugby. But the team is on the verge of exiting the current World Cup.
After the historic 6:40 defeat against Wales, things are looking bad for the team Down Under. The out-of-form Australians have already lost against Fiji a week ago and are unlikely to make it into the top eight.
Wales are top of Group C with 14 points after three wins from three games and will not be out of the top two places for the quarter-finals. Australia are level on six points with Fiji, who have played a game less. The Australians won the opening 32:15 against Georgia, and even another victory against Portugal in the last group game will not help anymore. Progress is only possible if Fiji lose against Georgia or Portugal. It will be eliminated in the first preliminary round.
Lost to Fiji for the first time since 1954
The 15:22 loss against Fiji was a shock.”Wallabies“. Since 1954, it was the first time in 69 years that a Pacific Islander had been the favorite in a game against the men – an embarrassment for the proud rugby nation and a day’s celebration for the island nation.
Australia has participated in every World Cup ever, with two wins (1991 and 1999) and two second-place finishes (2003 and 2015), making it the third strongest team behind New Zealand and South Africa.
After the 2015 World Cup, things went downhill
But England’s loss to New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup final was a turning point. Failures increased in subsequent years. The team won just four of 13 games in 2018 – a negative record. At the 2019 World Cup in Japan, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals against England. This resulted in record defeats against New Zealand (3:45) and Argentina (17:48) and Australia lost a game against Italy for the first time.
Finally at the dress rehearsal
Even before the current World Cup, things were going badly. The Rugby Championship in 2023, for one Australia finished last in the annual tournament behind New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. Coach Eddie Jones has only been coaching the team since January. As he had already successfully managed the team from 2001 to 2005, he was a high prospect before the tournament.
The next World Cup is in Australia
A negative development has affected rugby in Australia. Competition has long overtaken sports. For example, the hugely popular Australian football attracts young athletes in particular.
The association must now finally respond. The World Cup will be held in Australia in 2027. If it turns out to be a disaster, it could be the end of a proud rugby nation.
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