Why Rugby Australia had no choice but to move quickly on Eddie Jones's shock Wallabies return – ABC News

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Why Rugby Australia had no choice but to move quickly on Eddie Jones's shock Wallabies return
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Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennen has revealed why Eddie Jones was fast-tracked into his shock Wallabies return just eight months out from the World Cup.
The decision to axe Dave Rennie in favour of a return for Jones, who previously coached the Wallabies from 2001 to 2005, came down to one simple truth – if Australia didn't land Jones, somebody else would have.
"Everyone agrees that Eddie is the best coach in the world and so, after he got cut by England, we thought that it was an opportunity too good to miss. Because a guy like Eddie will get snapped up by another member union around the world," McLennen said on the ABC Sport Daily podcast.
"We've been talking to Eddie about coming to Australia from '24 onwards and actually couldn't believe he got cut by England, so we pounced on him and it's great for the sport.
"We're thinking about how do we regenerate the sport and get it through to '27 (when Australia will host the World Cup) and that's when we started talking to Eddie more than a year ago.
"So, events just overtook our planning when he got cut from England and then here we are today."
Jones, who previously coached Australia from 2001 to 2005, went on to acclaimed stints with Japan and England, coaching the latter to the 2019 World Cup final.
Outgoing coach Rennie endured an underwhelming 2022, losing a home test series against Jones's England side before a poor Spring Tour that included Australia's first ever loss to Italy.
All told, the Wallabies won just five of 14 matches – a record that made Jones's return a tantalising prospect for Rugby Australia.
"I think Dave's been in there about three years and he did a good job of pulling a disparate group of players together, but we weren't winning enough … so when Eddie got cut by England we were forced to re-evaluate our position," McLennen said.
"It (the Italy loss) wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, but I think everyone was really disappointed. We saw a pass mark as being three out of five. We only got two out of five.
"We looked at the loss against England, I think arguably we could've won the second and third tests in Australia last year. So, it was the accumulation of where we were at.
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"We've backed Dave and we've backed him publicly and given him as many of the resources as he needs, but unfortunately we weren't winning enough."
With Australian rugby at one of it's lowest ebbs, a strong World Cup campaign would do wonders for the game's rejuvenation in this country.
Now Jones is leading the charge, McLennen believes the Wallabies are on the cusp of a new era – one that could involve them hoisting the William Webb Ellis Cup at the Stade de France this October.
Jones's uncompromising style and tendency towards seige mentalities led to more than one clash with England's administrators, but McLennen believes such pitfalls can be avoided.
"We definitely feel that with Eddie's guidance we can win it," McLennen said.
"He definitely believes we can win it and will give it a red hot go this year. I think the world's changed for us as of today.
"It's really up to us connect with him and help him be the best possible coach that he can be.
"I think the 'us and them' will be against the Kiwis and the English and not RA management.
"We've got total alignment, so there might be some friction points along the way, but if you're going to create an organisation that's world class you've gotta be able to accommodate that.
"I suspect that he will push RA management and that's a good thing."
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