Wallabies: Eddie Jones appointed new head coach on five-year deal after Rugby Australia sack Dave Rennie

Colin Newboult

Head Coach of England Eddie Jones and Head Coach of Australia Dave Rennie shake hands before the third Test match of the International Rugby Test series between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, NO BOOKS **

In a major shake-up in Australian rugby, it has been announced that Eddie Jones will take charge of the Wallabies after Dave Rennie was sacked as head coach.

Just under eight months out from the start of the Rugby World Cup, Rugby Australia (RA) have decided to change the team’s head honcho.

Rennie was under pressure following a poor 2022, which saw them struggle throughout, but few predicted that he would depart this close to the global tournament.

However, a series loss to England, a third place finish in the Rugby Championship and a mixed end-of-year tour, which included a first-ever loss to Italy, saw the governing body act.

Long-term deal

Jones, who led the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005, has agreed a five-year contract that runs through until the end of the 2027 World Cup in Australia and will begin the job on January 29.

“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,” Rugby Australia 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.”

Rennie took over in 2020 after the departure of Michael Cheika but could only finish with a 38 per cent win record.

“I would like to thank Dave for his hard work and effort with the Wallabies – we are grateful for all that he has done for Australian Rugby,” RA CEO Andy Marinos said.

“Dave has been instrumental in developing much of the depth that we see in and around the current Wallabies squad; there are a number of players that are genuine World Cup possibilities because of opportunities that Dave has provided.

“The work ethic, the spirit within the group, and the way the team carries itself are all a direct result of Dave’s input – he has made a real mark on this group of players.”

Jones was sacked as England’s head coach in December and has been linked to numerous jobs, but the 62-year-old has regularly denied that he would be working in any capacity at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

However, he has been offered an opportunity which he simply could not turn down and will lead the Wallabies at the upcoming global tournament.

Great honour

“It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a Rugby World Cup,” he said.

“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’m really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”

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