Dave Rennie has been sacked as Wallabies coach in a sensational move to bring Eddie Jones back for the Rugby World Cup.
Rugby Australia confirmed the bombshell move on Monday morning, with Rennie axed and Jones brought in on a five-year deal to lead Australia to the next two World Cups.
The RA statement confirmed that Jones would also oversee the Wallaroos program.
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“It is a major coup for Australian Rugby to have the best coach in the world return home to coach the iconic Wallabies and to oversee the Wallaroos program,” RA chairman Hamish McLennan said in a statement.
“Eddie’s deep understanding of our Rugby system and knowledge of our player group and pathways will lift the team to the next level.
“Eddie instinctively understands the Australian way of playing rugby – this represents an opportunity to secure a coach of immense expertise and experience at the biggest competitions, and we did not want to miss it.”
Jones was axed by England last year after a horror run of results, and was immediately linked to a return to Australian rugby, although it was widely speculated that would be in a consultancy role, working with Rennie.
However, neither Rennie nor Jones appeared comfortable to work with the other, leading Jones to publicly distance himself from a return.
Rugby Australia’s determination to seize the moment and bring Jones back into the fold appears to have ultimately cost Rennie his job. Having taken over the Wallabies three years ago, Rennie was never able to put together a sustained run of positive results. In 2022 his Wallabies won just five of 14 Tests.
Jones last coached the Wallabies in 2005, with Rugby Australia bringing his four year stint to an end after a loss to Wales at Millenium Stadium. Jones coached the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003, losing in agonising fashion to England in extra-time, with a Jonny Wilkinson field-goal separating the two sides.
He went on to help South Africa to World Cup glory in 2007 as a technical advisor, before returning to head coaching with Japan and then England.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a Rugby World Cup,” Jones said in the RA statement.
“It is going to be an immense period for Australian Rugby – as a proud Australian, it is a great honour to be able to come home and lead the national team during these years.
“The Wallabies squad is a really talented group of players with good depth – if we can have everyone fit and healthy going into the World Cup this year, I am confident that we can go to France and break the 24-year drought of winning the Rugby World Cup.
“I saw how gutsy the Wallaroos were in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year – it looks like there is a real spirit in that group that will drive the women’s program forward ahead of their next World Cup in 2025.
“I am really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”
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