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'Unacceptable': Unapproved millions spent on Eddie's Wallabies

NEWS: Rugby Australia boss Phil Waugh has revealed that AUS$2.6 million in unapproved expenses were invested in Eddie Jones’ disastrous 2023 World Cup campaign.

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While declining to single out Jones for blame, Waugh on Thursday said the over-spend was “unacceptable” and would not happen again.

“The over-investment that was unapproved was AUS$2.6 million, which covered three main elements, being team costs, staff travel and then player benefits,” Waugh said, adding that RA only found out the extent of the excess spending “retrospectively”.

“So a lot of that came through post-World Cup. You want to set the team up for success.

“I mean, the reality is that 86 pe cent of our revenue comes through the men’s XVs program for Rugby Australia, and a successful World Cup program is critical to that.

“And I guess, yeah, there was lenience given in the hope that we would succeed at the World Cup and make it deep into the tournament.

“Clearly that didn’t happen, but the circumstances were quite unique.”

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Asked how the over-spend could reach such a vast sum, Waugh said: “Delegation of authority is important and clearly there were breaches in that area and we’ve made personnel changes on the back of some of those breaches.

“That over-investment, that’s not acceptable and it won’t happen going forward.”

Waugh refused to single out Jones or the Wallabies’ World Cup manager Chris Webb for blame.

“I’m not going to point the finger at one individual,” he said.

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“I think it was a cultural deficiency that we need to rectify.”

The revelation came as Waugh also reported broken trust as being among the strongest feedback coming from players who participated in RA’s external review into the Wallabies’ year from hell under Jones.

After quitting just 10 months into his five-year deal, Jones has since signed on as Japan’s national coach, despite denying he was interviewed for the Brave Blossoms position before presiding over the Wallabies’ worst-ever World Cup campaign.

“The lack of trust certainly comes through and we talk through elements of culture as well as governance there,” Waugh said.

“The actual specifics of Eddie and the linkages to Japan, not so much.

“But I think that’s the broader lack of trust across the system.”

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