Former Wallabies scrum-half Nick Farr-Jones believes a favorable draw could prevent Australia’s blushes at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
With 51 days to go until the global masterpiece, the Wallabies are in Group C with Wales, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal, which should theoretically offer the team a place in the round of 16.
However, the return of veteran manager Eddie Jones, who was hailed as the ‘savior’ of Australian rugby upon his arrival, has not been an easy ride.
Make no mistake, the pressure is on for the Wallabies and Farr-Jones knows the team will have a hard time gaining confidence ahead of their Bledisloe Cup showdown next weekend.
“I can’t imagine after those kinds of losses (against South Africa and Argentina), playing rugby that’s not very good, you can get on a plane and have some kind of confidence,” he told AAP.
It is still early in Jones’ second era and he will argue that there is still time to show improvement and achieve his ‘smash and grab’ goal at the World Cup.
Their campaign begins against Georgia on September 9, followed by Fiji on September 17, Wales on September 24 and finally Portugal on October 1.
The top two from Group C will face the top two from Group D, which will likely be England, Argentina or Japan.
In Farr-Jones’s mind, only a semi-final would avert disaster. The legend took aim at the way the game is run and claimed that he would be “depressed” if he concentrated on rugby only in Australia.
“We are blessed with the draw and we should reach a semi-final, otherwise it will be a disaster,” he said.
“Even then, people will overlook that and say it was reasonably successful.
“It can’t be (a positive outlook) and that’s not just the team’s performance, it’s the game.
“I focus on life, family, my work, friends. If I focused on rugby I would be depressed because for the last 20 years it hasn’t been a great story.
“Our development paths have not been well managed by the (RA) board, they are terrible.
“Until you start winning and build it so that young kids know who the players are and want to be like them, get people interested in the game, I’m not sure about our future.”