Dave Rennie’s tenure as the coach of the Wallabies came to an end on Monday when he was let go in favour of Eddie Jones.
The bombshell news caught rugby fans worldwide off guard, coming only eight months out from the World Cup.
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Rennie was contracted until the end of the World Cup, but Rugby Australia made the bold move to end his contract and sign former Wallabies coach Jones to a five-year deal.
The 59-year-old Rennie didn’t enjoy the most successful tenure as the man in charge, in fact his win percentage (38 per cent) was the lowest of any coach with a minimum of 30 Tests in Wallabies history.
But how he learnt the news his time at the helm was over was as cold-blooded as it gets.
The Wallabies squad had just come off an extensive camp held on the Gold Coast last week where Rennie and his coaching staff went through game plans and strategies with the 44-man squad as the World Cup drew closer.
All that went out the window on Monday morning when Rennie opened up his laptop and jumped on a Zoom call with Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos.
Marinos was in South Africa when at 6am (AEDT) on Monday morning Rennie was given his marching orders. He jumped off the call, packed his bags and flew home to New Zealand, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The axing came less than 24 hours after the RA board had signed off on Jones’ new five-year, $4.5m deal. Jones reportedly signed the offer just before midnight on Saturday.
RA chairman Hamish McLennan flew into action when Jones was sacked as the coach of England in December and said securing his signature was a major coup.
Jones led the Wallabies to the 2003 Rugby World Cup final and McLennan believes with the mastermind in charge they can win it all in 2023.
“I absolutely believe we can win the World Cup, and I think it could be the greatest comeback ever,” McLennan told News Corp Australia.
“This thing can be fixed, and he’ll be a big of it, our turnaround.
“Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.
Jones released a statement on Monday morning and backed up McLennan’s sentiment in believing the Wallabies could stun the world.
“It’s 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’m really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”
Jones’ tenure with the Wallabies gets underway on January 29.