Rugby 2023: Eddie Jones returns as Wallabies coach

Eddie Jones has returned to the Wallabies to replace Dave Rennie as coach in a major move just months out from the rugby World Cup.

Jones returns to the role he had from 2001-2005 when he took Australia to the 2003 World Cup final where they lost to England in extra time.

The decision to sign Jones on a five-year deal comes after his successful stint as England coach where he had an incredible winning rate of 73 per cent.

He replaces Rennie who struggled for success, with the Wallabies suffering a historic loss to Italy during last year’s European tour.

Jones officially starts the role on January 29 and will also oversee the Wallaroos as he looks to make the men’s team competitive again ahead of the World Cup, where they’ll be rank outsiders as the sixth best team in the world.

“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,” Rugby Australia 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 has a terrific winning record against Australia and is the perfect man to save rugby in this country after several lean years.

His passion and ability to build public confidence will be essential in what shapes as a huge year on the field for the national side.

“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.

“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 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 am really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”

Rennie won just 13 of his 34 matches in charge since he took over in 2020.

“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.”

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