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Jones appointed Wallabies coach in ‘major coup’ after Rennie dumped

Jones appointed Wallabies coach in ‘major coup’ after Rennie dumped

RUGBY: Former England boss Eddie Jones was appointed the new Australia coach today (Jan 16) in “a major coup” after Dave Rennie was sacked, and vowed to steer them to World Cup glory in France this year.

Rugby
By AFP

Monday 16 January 2023, 09:40AM


The then England coach Eddie Jones watches his players warm up during the Six Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham last March. Photo: AFP

The then England coach Eddie Jones watches his players warm up during the Six Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham last March. Photo: AFP

It will be the veteran’s second stint in charge after his 2001-2005 spell during which he took the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final, where they lost to England.

New Zealander Rennie, who took over from Michael Cheika at the end of 2019, was shown the door just eight months out from the global showpiece after only five wins from 14 Tests last year.

Assistant coach Scott Wisemantel quit earlier this month.

Speculation had been rife that Jones, an Australian, would be brought into the Wallabies set-up, but Rennie last week ruled out working with him, saying “it won’t happen”.

Jones, who was dumped by England in December, will start on Jan 29 on a contract that will take him through until the 2027 World Cup in Australia and which includes a home British and Irish Lions series in 2025.

In what Rugby Australia called a world-first, he will also head up the national Wallaroos program as the governing body pushes towards a professional future for the women’s game.

Jones said his immediate aim was to win the World Cup this year.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a rugby World Cup,” said the 62-year-old.

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

Jones was axed by England after presiding over their worst year since 2008, with the team losing six out of 12 Tests, with five wins and a draw.

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He said last month the past few years had taken a toll and it would be “difficult” to bounce back and coach another team at the World Cup.

But he added: “If someone comes forward and the offer’s too good to refuse then I’ll look at it.”

He was reportedly also being chased by other Test nations, including Japan and the United States.

Hard work

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said it was a “major coup” to entice Jones home.

“Eddie’s deep understanding of our rugby system and knowledge of our player group and pathways will lift the team to the next level,” he added.

“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 has been linked with a move to Kobe Steelers in Japan, although he rejected claims last week that any deal had been signed.

Rugby Australia chief Andy Marinos paid tribute to Rennie’s “hard work and effort”.

“Dave has been instrumental in developing much of the depth that we see in and around the current Wallabies squad,” he said.

“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.”

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