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Eddie Jones' successor: The leading candidates

SPOTLIGHT: Rugby Australia faces the daunting task of finding a new coach for the Wallabies, after their disastrous experiment with Eddie Jones ended abruptly this week.


AFP Sports looks at potential candidates to repair Australia’s reputation with a 2025 British and Irish Lions tour and 2027 home World Cup on the horizon:

Dan McKellar

The highly regarded 47-year-old was widely seen as heir apparent to former Wallaby coach Dave Rennie, working as his assistant until the New Zealander was axed in January.

But McKellar was overlooked and left for England to take over as head coach at Leicester Tigers when the polarising Jones was appointed.

Brisbane-born McKellar made his name as coach of the Brumbies and reportedly has a Wallaby exit clause in his contract with Leicester.

He is considered a frontrunner.

Stephen Larkham

The decorated former Wallabies flyhalf is a brilliant tactician with an in-depth knowledge of the game in Australia.

After winning 102 caps as a player, he became attack coach under then-Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika at the 2015 World Cup.

But he had a falling-out with the national team in 2019 after a string of poor results and became head coach of European heavyweights Munster, where he spent three years.


The Canberra-born 49-year-old returned to the Brumbies – where he spent a decade as a player – for the 2023 Super Rugby season, taking over from McKellar.

Like McKellar, touted as a top target for Rugby Australia.

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Michael Cheika

The vastly experienced 56-year-old coached the Wallabies between 2014 and 2019, steering them to the 2015 World Cup Final before a messy departure as results deteriorated.

He has only enhanced his reputation since and guided Argentina to the World Cup semifinals in France last month.


Now out of contract, Cheika could be tempted by a return home.

An innovative thinker, he was a teammate of Jones at club side Randwick and has also coached Leinster, Stade Francais and the NSW Waratahs.

Ian Foster

The 58-year-old New Zealander is out of work despite leading the All Blacks to a narrow loss to South Africa in the World Cup final. His successor Scott Robertson was appointed before the tournament.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive Phil Waugh has said he is prepared to speak with him, but having another Kiwi at the helm so soon after Rennie might not go down well with Wallabies fans.

After his four-year tenure with New Zealand, Foster will have no shortage of job offers and said after the World Cup he was open to coaching another international team.


Left-field prospects include former Harlequins, Brumbies and Connacht coach Andy Friend, who used to be in charge of the Australian Sevens team.

NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has also been mentioned in local media, but would appear to lack experience.

Another outside chance is New Zealander Joe Schmidt, who helped transform Ireland into a global force and has more recently been working with the All Blacks.

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