Wallabies using hurt to fuel preparations for Portugal

Wallabies using hurt to fuel preparations for Portugal

The Wallabies are still coming to terms with their "gutting" 40-6 defeat by Wales, but with their World Cup campaign not 100 percent dead and buried just yet, their focus is squarely on Sunday's final pool opponent, Portugal.

Australia returned to training on Tuesday having had Monday off to lick their wounds following the embarrassing loss in Lyon, one which has in all likelihood ended their campaign unless Fiji slip to back-to-back losses in their final two pool games.

But when there is hope, there is still work to be done, and Australia have set about nailing their preparations for Sunday's clash in Saint-Etienne.

"The best [thing] to turn it around [is realising] we have another game," Wallabies fullback Andrew Kellaway said. "It probably sounds like it's a cliche and a bit stupid but it might be my last game, you never know. For me that was a big switch, in terms of looking back into game mode.

"But in terms of the loss, how did I deal with it? Probably not that well. Gutted, right? It's the pinnacle of our game and we weren't able to perform and we let a lot of people down. How did we feel? We felt exactly how that would look from the outside.

"But Eddie has been great and the coaching staff fantastic, reminding us that we have another game to go here. A big pat on the back from them because they are probably hurting as much, if not more, than the rest of us. I can't applaud them enough."

Wallabies assistant Dan Palmer confirmed both skipper Will Skelton and prop Taniela Tupou would not be fit for the game, meaning the hulking forward duo's World Cup campaign will be over unless the impressive Fijians fall in a heap.

Given Fiji face Georgia 24 hours earlier, Australia will have a fair idea of whether they still have a "pulse" when they run out onto the Stade Geoffrey Guichard on Sunday. But after a few days when they have been hammered from pillar to post, and the recriminations are already happening across the Australian game, the Wallabies will want to turn in a decent performance regardless.

Meanwhile, the speculation around Eddie Jones' alleged meeting with Japan continues to rumble away both in France and back at home in Australia.

Asked about the report, which ran in Sunday's Sydney Morning Herald and created a firestorm of comment and concern thereafter, Palmer embraced the same line as Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh and chairman Hamish McLennan, that he could only trust Jones' word.

"Of course I take him for his word and at the moment that's speculation," Palmer said. "He's a professional coach and if he's had a conversation with somebody else that's his business, it hasn't affected us at all.

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