‘Winless Wallabies can lift World Cup’

Eddie Jones remains confident Australia will win the Rugby World Cup despite seeing his improving team succumb to a fourth consecutive defeat since he replaced Dave Rennie at the Wallabies’ helm in January.

Jones’ side were handed a 23-20 loss by New Zealand on Saturday, but Jones believes he saw enough in the peformance against the All Blacks to remain certain the Wallabies can succeed at the World Cup, which kicks off in France on September 8.

“100 percent,” Jones said when asked if Australia could win the World Cup.

“As a matter of fact, I think we will. If I could bet on it, I would, but I think you get in trouble if you bet.”

Jones was encouraged by an improved display from his team in Dunedin, the Australians holding a 14-point lead at the interval before New Zealand rallied in the second half.

It took a last minute penalty from Richie Mo’unga to seal the win and ensure the All Blacks notched up their fourth consecutive victory of the year so far.

“I couldn’t say I’m happy. Four losses are four losses,” Jones said.

“But are we making progress? You know, sometimes the result sheet doesn’t reflect what you’re actually doing and that’s hard for people to understand.

“But I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction, but we’ve got to win games.”

The Wallabies, who won the second of their two world titles in 1999, will complete their World Cup preparations with a warm-up game against France on August 27 before beginning their group phase commitments against Georgia on September 9.

They then take on Fiji, Wales and Portugal with a place in the quarter-finals at stake and Jones wants his players to use the disappointment of their narrow loss against the All Blacks as fuel for the future.

“As much as I hate New Zealand rugby, I’ve got great admiration for how they keep at it, they keep doing the things they’re good at, they stay part of the contest and they keep going,” he said.

“We don’t want to forget that feeling, that’s a really important feeling today.

“We’ve a devastated group of men in there, but if we learn from it it’s going to be the most potent lesson. It’s going to be more than a PhD from the University of Otago.” SuperSport.

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