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'Eddie is a head coach until he drops dead': The wildcard in RA's Dave Rennie succession plan

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Editor
4th May, 2022
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Should Eddie Jones be the next Wallabies coach after Dave Rennie?

Jones may have not been to everyone’s taste when he led the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003 – nor in his current gig at the helm of England – but his experience in big games is hard to top and he should be considered as Rennie’s successor.

That’s the verdict of Sydney Morning Herald chief rugby writer Georgina Robinson, who joined hosts Brett McKay and Harry Jones for Episode 14 of The Roar Rugby Podcast on Wednesday.

Eddie Jones has been touted a potential coach’s coach with reports in recent weeks that Dan McKellar of the Brumbies and Brad Thorn of the Reds are the leading contenders to replace Rennie.

Harry Jones said he thought Rennie would survive beyond the World Cup by taking the Wallabies to the semis in France, and asked Robinson if and why the next Australian coach had to be an Australian.

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She said the decision to go with New Zealander Robbie Deans in 2008 was “hugely controversial and it remained controversial all throughout his time at the Wallabies.”

Robinson said that after the struggles of Ewen McKenzie and Michael Cheika, “Australian rugby fans caught onto the fact that Wallabies performances were deteriorating for factors other than the coach alone.

“That’s when we started to go ‘well, Robbie Deans looked like he did pretty well with what he had.

“At the time it was his kiwiness that was hugely controversial. When they appointed Dave Rennie they said ‘okay we’re going to get the best man’ (but they still thought it was important, and it is important, for Australia to breed its own coaches that are capable of coaching the Wallabies.

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“Rugby Australia have dropped the ball on coach development for a long time and this is the fruit. Dave Rennie, a great coach, but a Kiwi, is our best option at this time. Eddie Jones was coaching England and unavailable.”

Rennie has made it clear he believes he should be replaced by an Australia and he has brought frontrunner McKellar on board as a Wallabies assistant – full time from post Super Rugby Pacific.

“Does it have to be an Australian coach? No, but in two to four years the coaches we have now will be ready to have a crack,” Robinson said.

Harry Jones had an interesting take on namesake Eddie.

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“I think Dave Rennie is more Australian than Eddie Jones is now,” said Harry. “Eddie Jones is like a world of his own.”

“I think Dave is a Kiwi through and through,” said Robinson adding that Eddie is still very much an Aussie and “he wants to come home.

“I don’t necessarily think as Wallabies coach but Australian rugby and Eddie Jones have unfinished business,” Robinson added.

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“If the business is serious about being world class you have to bring home the best Australian coach.”

Did she see him capable of taking a back ground role? Not exactly.

“I feel like Eddie is a head coach until he drops dead. That’s the problem. And so does Eddie. It’s tricky but I feel there’s a whole lot of IP and wisdom and fire to keep offshore.”

The panel also chatted about the 20 minute red card and how it’s unlikely to last ahead of the World Cup, as well as the performances of the Australian teams last weekend.

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