Rugby: Australia sack coach Rennie, replace him with ex-England boss Jones

SYDNEY – Australia coach Dave Rennie was sacked on Monday, with former England boss Eddie Jones taking over on a four-year deal until 2027, Rugby Australia said on Monday.

New Zealander Rennie was contracted until the end of this year’s World Cup in France, which begins on Sept 8, but had a winning record of only 38 per cent since taking over after the last edition in 2019. He had just five wins from 14 Tests last year.

His winning record was the lowest of any Australia coach who had overseen at least 30 Tests but he did lead the Wallabies to wins over New Zealand, South Africa and France during his reign.

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

Jones, who was sacked by England in December, will start on Jan 29. It will be his second stint in charge after taking them to the 2003 World Cup final, when he coached the side from 2001 to 2005.

He had also led England to the 2019 World Cup final, was a consultant for South Africa when they won the 2007 tournament and oversaw Japan’s stunning upset of the Springboks at the 2015 edition of rugby’s showcase event.

His contract takes him through the 2025 incoming tour of the British and Irish Lions and Australia’s hosting of the 2027 World Cup.

Under his new contract, he will also coach the Australian women’s team.

“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 programme,” said Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan.

“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 said: “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.

“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.”

Australia won the second of their two World Cups in 1999 but are currently sixth in the World Rugby rankings.

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