Raelene Castle's list of Wallaby coaches
REACTION: Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle says she already has a list of targets to be the new Wallaby coach.
An announcement is expected by Christmas.
She also defended not axing Michael Cheika sooner.
The 52-year-old Cheika called time on his five-year tenure Sunday, after Australia’s dismal World Cup quarterfinal exit to England, stung by sharp criticism of his tactics.
Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie, a New Zealander, is considered favourite to replace him, with the new appointee expected to be handed a four-year deal taking them beyond the 2023 World Cup.
Ireland’s Joe Schmidt is also available, with England coach Eddie Jones also being suggested.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph insisted Jones, who coached the Wallabies at the 2003 World Cup, was “the only man who can revive Australian rugby”.
“I understand he [Jones] is contracted through to 2021 with England,” Castle told reporters when asked about the possibility of poaching the Australian.
“As I said, we’ve done the work on different names, different understandings. We’ve got a list of people and we know who we will be talking to.”
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She said an announcement was expected to be made by Christmas.
Cheika’s departure was not unexpected. His contract expires at the end of the year and he had previously indicated he would not reapply for his job if the Wallabies failed to win the World Cup.
But in a stunning parting shot, he revealed he had “no relationship” with Castle or the governing body’s chairman Cameron Clyne.
The bitterness apparently stems from his powers being watered down in December after a horror season last year, in which Australia won just four of 13 Tests.
He survived the axe, but attack coach Stephen Larkham was sent packing and Scott Johnson appointed to the new role of Director of Rugby, effectively Cheika’s new boss.
“I don’t think anyone would think that we have been satisfied with the results [since the last World Cup],” Castle said. “I think it has been a very challenging time.”
But she defended the organisation sticking with Cheika after such a grim 2018.
“I think we did a thorough review at the end of last year and we looked at the options that we had available to us that could not just think about the Rugby World Cup but think about the longer-term options for rugby in Australia,” she said.
“We made the decision in appointing Scott Johnson into that [Director of Rugby] role and to think about, yes, the improvements he could bring to the programme in the short-term but definitely with the long-term strategy as well.”
WALLABIES COACH CONTENDERS
Dave Rennie (Glasgow Warriors)
The short-priced favourite. Calm, intelligent, successful at Super Rugby level and shares a close association with Scott Johnson. The seasoned Kiwi coach has committed to seeing out his Glasgow Warriors contract, which finishes in June, 2020, meaning he wouldn’t have long to get his first Wallabies team up to speed.
Eddie Jones (England)
Is said to have support on the Rugby Australia board to return to the job he held from 2001-05. Is contracted with England for another two years but there’s no guarantee he’d see that through given the fickle nature of the post. Jones has intimated he’d consider returning to Australia or even coaching a tier two team but in April opined there should be “generational change” the next time a Wallabies coach is appointed.
Jamie Joseph (Japan)
Boasts the fastest rising stock in the coaching game such has been his impact with Japan at the Rugby World Cup. Speculated as an All Blacks coaching prospect although the tough Kiwi has also made noises about staying on with the Brave Blossoms.
Dan McKellar (Brumbies)
In charge of Australia’s premier Super Rugby team. Had them humming for large parts of 2019 but may need another good year before he enters the international stage.
Scott Wisemantel (England)
Attack consultant with England but has limited head coaching experience. Would be a left-field selection and shapes as a more likely assistant.
Sources: AFP & AAP