Wallabies bombshell as Dave Rennie sacked, Eddie Jones new coach in ‘major coup’

The Wallabies have sacked coach Dave Rennie with immediate effect, announcing that Eddie Jones will replace him for the 2023 World Cup in a stunning development.

Jones has signed a five-year deal and will start on January 29, with Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan confirming the news in a statementon Monday morning.

“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,” 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, meanwhile, said in a statement that he was looking forward to a “wonderful opportunity” to return to Australia and lead the Wallabies into the future.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

RA CEO Andy Marinos, meanwhile, thanked Rennie for “his hard work and effort” having been appointed back in 2019 to help rebuild the Wallabies both on and off the field.

“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,” he 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 will also oversee the Wallaroos program, adding that he saw a “real spirit” in their latest performance at the Rugby World Cup and that the current group “will drive the women’s program forward”.

Rennie, who was off-contract after this year, denied suggestions he could team up with Jones ahead of the World Cup while also pouring cold water over speculation he had signed a deal in Japan.

“I’m not an assistant coach”, Rennie said, with reports linking Jones to the Wallabies job after he was axed as England coach.

“It won’t happen before (the World Cup),” Rennie added, telling reporters he had not spoken to Rugby Australia officials about an approach to Jones.

“There’s a fair bit of speculation about a lot of things but my focus is on this group and the World Cup.

“We’ve had no discussions around that. There’s no plan to make alterations to the coaching group at this stage. My assumption is we’re going to push on. What happens beyond 2023 is a different matter.”

Rennie finishes up his stint in the top job having won 38 per cent of games in charge, the lowest of any Wallabies coach to have been at the helm for at least 30 Tests.