Rugby Australia's bold plan with Eddie Jones in charge
REACTION: New coach Eddie Jones will mastermind a “reset” of the Wallabies ahead of the World Cup and has matured since his previous stint in charge, Rugby Australia’s boss told AFP.
Australia sacked Dave Rennie and replaced him with former England coach Jones on Monday, less than eight months before the World Cup in France.
“Eddie and I believe we can win the World Cup this year. That’s a lot to do but we really believe we have got a fair shake,” chairman Hamish McLennan said.
“I think it is a whole-of-game reset that Eddie will lead,” he said, foreseeing changes in players’ strength and conditioning, coaching and “ultimately the game plan”.
The 62-year-old Australian Jones first coached the Wallabies in 2001-2005, taking the hosts to the 2003 World Cup Final, where they lost to England.
McLennan said he had no concerns about England’s decision to sack the outspoken Jones in December over his record there.
“I think in life quite often you mature with age and I think he’s a better coach than 20 years ago,” he added.
The Australian boss praised Jones’s World Cup record.
“He performs well at World Cups – that is really critical for us. And then we have the home World Cup in 27,” he said.
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Jones’s availability was a “unique opportunity presented at short notice, but we are very comfortable with the decision”, McLennan added.
Jones, whose contract runs until 2027, will also oversee the Wallaroos, the national women’s team, programme.
“Overwhelmingly his focus is on the Wallabies, but the women’s game is a priority for Rugby Australia,” McLennan said.
Rugby Australia wanted to find “synergies” for the Wallaroos in coach selection – which Jones will be responsible for – and high-performance techniques, the rugby chief said.
“Eddie is very enthused by the opportunity and as you would know, Eddie is a worker, and so he will make it all work,” said McLennan.
McLennan said it was a tough call to sack Rennie, who took over from Michael Cheika at the end of 2019.
“It was a very difficult decision for us and ultimately we are grateful for all the hard work that Dave did for our team.”
In his first statement since being appointed, Jones said his immediate aim was to win the World Cup.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a Rugby World Cup,” he said.