Whether Jones would be asking for divine intervention to keep him in his current role or throw up a convenient avenue to tiptoe to Japan after the World Cup remains to be seen.
Jones insisted his commitment remains with Australia, fending off interrogation over reports of talks with Japan bosses on becoming their head coach after this tournament.
The cold truth will hurt the former England boss, however, and that reality is that his Australia are a “shambles” — his own word. Jones insisted it only looks like Australia are a shambles. In this case, looks are not deceiving.
Rob Valetini was in tears on the field at full-time and had to be consoled by similarly shell-shocked team-mates.
Wales became the first team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals with their comprehensive dismantling of Jones’s rabble, taking total control of Pool C.
Australia’s earliest World Cup exit will be confirmed just as soon as Fiji secure five more match points. With Georgia and Portugal left to play, the Pacific Islanders are surely headed for knockout rugby.
The Wallabies are a goner — and Jones should be, too. The 63-year-old seduced RFU bosses into three years too many in the England hotseat. Now, though, it should be death by 1,000 quotes for the silver-tongued head coach.
Jones is contracted until after the 2027 World Cup, which Australia will host. He has been clear about blooding a glut of youngsters in France, with one eye on claiming the ultimate prize on home soil in four years’ time. But then he also said Australia would win both this World Cup and the next.
To watch Australia unravel now is to see Jones’s last three years as England boss condensed into seven months
On Sunday night, he qualified that as merely claiming he wanted to win both competitions. The difference is palpable and will feed into a crazed set-up that has had players wearing thousand-yard stares from the moment they arrived in France.
To watch Australia unravel now is to see Jones’s last three years as England boss condensed into seven months. He enjoyed four fruitful years with England, culminating in a World Cup Final in 2019. What followed proved a slide from one unmitigated disaster to the next, ending in his December sacking.
Australia have suffered a similar fate, only fast-forwarded in a stunning collapse, with seven defeats in eight matches since Jones took charge in January. The Wallabies could be dumped out of the tournament without another kick of the ball. Beat Georgia with a bonus point on Saturday, and Fiji will be through to the last eight.
Australia’s final pool match is against Portugal on Sunday. If that becomes a dead rubber, then Jones ought to be a dead man walking. If he wants to keep the job, though, only a fool would bet against him pulling that off. Jones might have become the master salesman, but it is only right to question the product.
Nick Tompkins, Gareth Davies and Jac Morgan crossed; Dan Biggar landed one conversion before hobbling off, only for Gareth Anscombe to slot six penalties, a drop-goal and convert a try.
So, England should face Wales or Fiji in the quarter-finals, avoiding a Jones reunion circus. That particular sideshow will shortly be packed up and sent home.