World Cup-winning Wallaby Simon Poidevin, a Randwick stablemate of Jones, said the 62-year-old should be hired as Dave Rennie’s technical director leading into next year’s World Cup, or as Rennie’s successor after that.
Sources close to RA say Australia is interested in talking with Jones and the Sydney Morning Herald understands there is no non-compete clause in his deal with the RFU. Jones will walk away with a payout worth a minimum of $1.3 million and nothing on his books for the new year.
RA chief executive Andy Marinos confirmed that Rennie would remain the Wallabies coach, on Wednesday telling the Herald: “We have said consistently that Dave is contracted through to the World Cup and will be the coach, and that’s our position going forward.”
But two separate reviews into the team’s results and the litany of injuries this season will be conducted over the summer break and could spell changes to Rennie’s programme. Despite some cool heads on the board’s rugby committee, the union’s top brass remain angered by the Wallabies’ historic loss to Italy on last month’s spring tour.
In that context, Jones’s sacking this week has presented an unexpected opportunity for Marinos and RA chairman Hamish McLennan. Poidevin said it was time to bring home the abrasive and successful coach.
“I think RA have made it clear they respect Dave Rennie taking the team through to the 2023 World Cup,” Poidevin said. “That doesn’t stop a guy of Eddie’s experience, like he did [at the 2007 World Cup] with South Africa, coming in to provide his expertise. He helped the Springboks get that victory. That’s an option which Rugby Australia should be thinking about with Eddie.
“His most valuable input would be a sounding board for Dave Rennie and his relatively young coaching staff. He’s been through it all. He knows the challenges of knockout tournaments. In France it’s going to be highly intense given the number of quality teams around the world now.”
It is a scenario with plenty of appeal on paper but observers would point to the disastrous installation of Scott Johnson over the top of Michael Cheika in 2019 as an example of it having the opposite effect. Cheika resented Johnson’s presence and later said he should have resigned when presented with the arrangement.
Rennie is a much more collaborative operator and the arrangement would be temporary, but sources close to the coach on Wednesday indicated the New Zealander would not countenance having Jones foisted upon him.
Nevertheless, the rugby committee