Former England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones has been reappointed to the same top job at his native team Australia, in a deal running to 2027.
Jones’ seven-years at the helm of the England team ended in December, with him being sacked after six defeats and 12 draw in matches in 2022.
The 62-year-old returns to Australia, having previously been in the role from 2001 to 2005, when the Wallabies finished as runners-up to England on home soil at the 2003 World Cup. He will replace Dave Rennie.
Jones will be reinstated later this month, ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France in September. He will also oversee the women’s team, the Wallaroos, and is set to start with Rugby Australia on January 29.
Jones said he was honoured to be leading the team again, as a proud Australian.
He added: "The Wallabies squad is a really talented group of players with good depth – if we can have everyone fit and healthy going into the World Cup this year, I am confident that we can go to France and break the 24-year drought of winning the Rugby World Cup.
“I saw how gutsy the Wallaroos were in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year – it looks like there is a real spirit in that group that will drive the women’s programme forward ahead of their next World Cup in 2025.
“I am really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”
Former Wallaby World Cup-winner Tim Horan said hiring the Tasmanian was “brave and had some risk”, as he encouraged fans to “strap yourself in for the ride”.
He tweeted: “Maybe a risk worth taking considering the Wallabies current win/loss ratio,” the two-time centre tweeted. Need a Bledisloe Cup (within 2 years) and RWC Semi and Lions win to justify the decision."
Horan’s fellow 1991 World Cup winner Simon Poidevin supported the move. In comments to the Sydney Morning Herald, the flanker said: “Rugby Australia has made the right decision in appointing Eddie Jones.
"The Rugby Football Union gave Australian rugby a true gift when they sacked Eddie, putting in play one of the most talented, successful and hard-working rugby coaches the world has seen.
“Eddie produced the best record of any England coach in history with a 73 per cent win rate and is arguably without peer in delivering success for multiple teams in Rugby World Cup campaigns.
“Eddie has always wanted to return to Australian rugby and it is awesome news for the game at all levels in our country that a contract has been inked."
But not everyone was so enthusiastic, with Australia’s leading World Cup try-scorer Drew Mitchell commenting that it “feels like history is repeated itself”.
The winger tweeted: “It reminds me a lot of 2019. 6-8 months before a World Cup, Rugby AU’s leadership lose faith in the current coach.
[In] 2019 they appointed a selection panel because they didn’t have faith in (Michael) Cheika. 2023 they sack Rennie.
“At what point does the focus turn on the people who make the appointments in the first place?"
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said: “It is a major coup for Australian rugby to have the best coach in the world return home to coach the iconic Wallabies and to oversee the Wallaroos programme.
“Eddie instinctively understands the Australian way of playing rugby – this represents an opportunity to secure a coach of immense expertise and experience at the biggest competitions, and we did not want to miss it.
”Jones had a winning record of 73 per cent across his time with England, and guided the team to three Six Nations, one Grand Slam and the final of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, in which they were beaten by South Africa."
Jones' predecessor Dave Rennie departs after three years as Australia boss. Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos thanked him for his hard work and said he was instrumental to the squad's development.
He added: “The work ethic, the spirit within the group, and the way the team carries itself are all a direct result of Dave’s input – he has made a real mark on this group of players.”
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