Eddie Jones will make a stunning return to Australian rugby as Wallabies coach, with Dave Rennie sacked after a disappointing 2022 season when Australia won just five of 14 Tests.
Rugby Australia [RA] on Monday morning confirmed Jones had been signed on a five-year deal through to the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia, and that Rennie had been relieved of his duties just nine months out from this year’s global showpiece.
Jones will now return home to take charge of the Wallabies, and work across other areas including the Wallaroos, for what the national body has described as a “golden decade” of events that also features the British & Irish Lions tour in 2025.
After he was sacked by the Australian Rugby Union way back in 2005, the 62-year-old is once again officially back in the green and gold.
“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.
“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 last only month himself sacked as England coach after six years at the helm. The Australian had overseen a disappointing 2022 at Twickenham, culminating in England winning just one of their four November internationals.
Still, Jones confirmed he had spoken to Rugby Australia soon after his dismissal by the Rugby Football Union and executives at Moore Park in Sydney have clearly wasted little time in repatriating the veteran coach as other international unions reportedly closed in on his signature.
Jones finished his England stint with a 73% winning record, the best of any coach at Twickenham.
“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 via a media statement.
“It is going to be an immense period for Australian rugby – as a prooud 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 ca 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.”
Jones was in Australia in July as coach of England, the former Randwick hooker claiming a 2-1 series triumph over Rennie’s Wallabies with a nail-biting victory in the third Test in Sydney.
He was abused by multiple fans around the Sydney Cricket Ground, prompting an angry response from the “proud” Australian.
Rennie, meanwhile, saw his Wallabies struggle through a Rugby Championship campaign where they won just two of six matches, before the managed only a 2-3 return from a difficult five-match tour of Europe.
A morale-boosting win over Wales in Cardiff was thought to have been enough to see the Kiwi retain his job through to the end of his contract at this year’s World Cup, but the desire to lock Jones away for the run to 2027 has SEEN RA make the dramatic move it did on Monday.
Rennie had only last week overseen a four-day Wallabies camp on the Gold Coast, where he had ruled out any chance that Jones could join his coaching group for the run to France.
Both attack coach Scott Wisemantel and defence coach Matt Taylor had also departed the Wallabies ranks in recent times, though it is understood there had been no breakdown in the working relationships between Rennie and either man.
The New Zealander concludes his stint as Wallabies coach with a 38 percent winning record, the lowest of any Australia coach to have controlled at least 30 Tests.
“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 chief executive 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.”