Eddie Jones appointed Wallabies coach in 'major coup' after Dave Rennie dumped

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England head coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
England head coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Former England boss Eddie Jones was appointed the new Australia coach on Monday in "a major coup" after Dave Rennie was sacked, and vowed to steer them to Rugby World Cup glory in France this year.

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 January 29 on a contract that will take him through until the 2027 World Cup in Australia and includes a home British & Irish Lions series in 2025

In what Rugby Australia called a world-first, he will also head up the national Wallaroos programme 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.

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 chairperson Hamish McLennan said it was a "major coup" to entice Jones home and told AFP he shared his belief that the Wallabies could win the World Cup.

"Eddie and I believe we can win the World Cup this year. That's a lot to do but we really believe we have got a fair shake," he said, downplaying any concerns about England's decision to dump him over his record there.

"No, not at all. I think in life quite often you mature with age, and I think he's a better coach than 20 years ago.

"He performs well at World Cups - that is really critical for us. And then we have the home World Cup in 27."

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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