Eddie Jones makes his big comeback with Australia, eight months from the World Cup

Eddie Jones will not have had to wait long before returning to service: a month after his dismissal in England, the Australian returns to the head of the Wallabies, replacing Dave Rennie, in the hope of winning the World Cup -2023 in France.

“It’s a big blow for Australian rugby to have the best coach in the world come home,” said Rugby Australia president Hamish McLennan.

A big blow and a comeback since Eddie Jones, soon to be 63, has already served as Australia coach between 2001 and 2005, taking the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003 (defeat against England) .

Let go by England last month, Jones signed a long-term contract as he is supposed to see him through to the 2027 World Cup on home soil. As well as coaching the Wallabies, he will oversee the Wallaroos women’s team program.

He succeeds New Zealander Dave Rennie, fired after three seasons and who is paying the price for a disappointing 2022, with five wins in 14 matches.

– “Wonderful opportunity” –

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to return to Australia and lead my nation to the World Cup” in France (September 8-October 28), reacted Eddie Jones, 62, who will take up his post at the end of the month.

“If we can get everyone fit and healthy (…) I’m sure we can go to France and end 24 years of drought, in reference to the last of the Wallabies’ two world titles, won in 1999 against the Blues.

Rumors had been circulating for several weeks about the possibility of Eddie Jones returning to the helm of his country.

Last week, Dave Rennie, 59, had ruled out the possibility of working with the former coach of the XV de la Rose.

“We haven’t had any discussions about it. There are no plans to make any changes to the coaching staff,” the former New Zealand Chiefs franchise manager assured. australia has suffered a blow with the departure of assistant coach Scott Wisemantel.

The latter joined the Wallabies under Rennie in 2020, after 18 months in a similar role with Eddie Jones’ England.

– “Winning the World Cup” –

Back home, Jones will have to restore his image after a lackluster experience in England.

Under his leadership, the XV de la Rose won the Six Nations tournament three times (the last in 2020), including a Grand Slam in 2016, and played in a World Cup final, lost to South Africa in 2019 (32-12).

But he had his worst season since 2008 last year with six defeats in 12 matches.

Eddie Jones himself had questioned last month his ability to bounce back and regain the lead of a selection in the World Cup, after seven trying seasons with England.

But “if someone comes to me with an offer that I can’t refuse, then I will consider it,” added the man who also led Japan from 2012 to 2015, with a historic World Cup victory against Japan. South Africa, in his final year.

Monday, if the head of Rugby Australia, Andy Marinos, praised the work done by Dave Rennie, in particular in the discovery of new talents, the boss of the Federation dwelt for a long time on his hopes with Jones at the helm.

“Eddie and I think we can win the World Cup this year,” Hamish McLennan told AFP, referring to a “recovery” on the occasion of this change of coach.

“Eddie’s deep understanding of our rugby system and knowledge of our players and their backgrounds will take the team to the next level,” he said.

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