‘Unacceptable’ – Eddie Jones’ Wallabies went millions overbudget for World Cup pool stage exit

Colin Newboult
Former Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones during the Rugby World Cup 2023.

Former Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones during the Rugby World Cup 2023.

Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh has revealed the amount of money they went overbudget in an attempt to have a successful Rugby World Cup.

It had been reported following the global tournament that the governing body had spent past the agreed amount, but Waugh confirmed on Tuesday the exact number.

And in keeping with Australia’s dreadful 2023, it proved to be a shocking figure as the CEO announced that it was AUS$2.6m (about £1.35m) more than what they had budgeted for.

‘Unique circumstances’

“The over-investment that was unapproved was $2.6 million, which covered three main elements, being team costs, staff travel and then player benefits,” Waugh told reporters.

“So a lot of that came through post-World Cup … You want to set the team up for success.

“I mean, the reality is that 86 per cent of our revenue comes through the men’s XVs programme for Rugby Australia, and a successful World Cup program is critical to that.

“And I guess, yeah, there was lenience given in the hope that we would succeed at the World Cup and make it deep into the tournament.

“Clearly, that didn’t happen, but the circumstances were quite unique.”

Eddie Jones demanded financial backing from Rugby Australia when he took charge in January 2023, but Waugh refused to single out the former Wallabies head coach for their overspend.

Jones decided to resign following the 2023 World Cup, which saw them eliminated at the pool stages for the first time ever, and cited issues within the governing body for his departure.

Changes in personnel

“Delegation of authority is important and clearly there were breaches in that area and we’ve made personnel changes on the back of some of those breaches,” Waugh said when asked how it could have reached the $2.6m figure.

“That over-investment, that’s not acceptable, and it won’t happen going forward.”

Another person who could have received heavy criticism was Jones’ close ally, ex-Wallabies manager Chris Webb, but Waugh did not want to play the blame game publicly.

“I’m not going to point the finger at one individual. I think it was a cultural deficiency that we need to rectify,” he added.

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