The Roar
The Roar


No crybabies, no league tragics, no Eddie Jones - the next Wallaby coach checklist

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19th October, 2023
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OK, so Eddie Jones has reaffirmed his total commitment to Australian rugby and made it clear that he has never even heard of a country called “Japan”, and anyway he doesn’t own a computer so he can’t have ever used Zoom.

That’s great news. But the fact is that sooner or later Eddie will be gone. It might happen before next season. It might happen after Australia wins/fails to win/misses the bus and doesn’t turn up to the 2027 World Cup. It might happen in 2040 when Eddie is dragged bodily from RA headquarters after a decade-long siege.

But one way or another, it’s going to happen. And Australia has to be prepared for a post-Eddie future. Lack of planning has crippled Australian rugby in the past, so it’s imperative that we get it right this time. It’s time to lay down the non-negotiable requirements for the next Wallabies coach. The following is a list of attributes that the next coach MUST have, if Australia is to return to its once much-envied status of having a rugby team that could be reasonably confident of breaking even in an under-12s tournament.

The next Wallabies coach…

Must not be Eddie Jones

This really is crucial. The biggest mistake Rugby Australia could make, once Eddie Jones has left his post, is to hire Eddie Jones again. Whether this requires a complete cleanout of the RA board, or just some kind of all-day seminar for the current members, the message needs to be hammered home to the administration: if, after Eddie leaves, he immediately walks back in again and says, “Can I be the coach”, remember to say NO. And be vigilant: do not allow Eddie Jones to sneak back in in disguise. Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed to ask the suspiciously tall and unstable applicant to remove his trenchcoat before the interview, to make sure he is not just Phil Waugh standing on Eddie Jones’s shoulders.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones speaks to the media during a Rugby Australia press conference at Coogee Oval on October 17, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones speaks to the media during a Rugby Australia press conference at Coogee Oval on October 17, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


Ask the hard questions of the prospective coach with the enormous fake nose and moustache. And above all, if a mysterious stranger asks you to sign a birthday card for Sharon at reception, LOOK AT IT FIRST to make sure it IS a birthday card and a not a ten-year contract for Eddie Jones to coach the Wallabies.

Must know how to select a good team

One of the biggest problems for the Wallabies this year is that in almost every game, when given the choice between selecting a good team and a bad team, Eddie Jones chose the latter. Why? Who knows. But if we’re honest, it’s been a constant problem for Australian coaches for the last 20 years. Innumerable times, they have selected a bad team, full of bad players, even though conventional wisdom suggests that more rugby games are won by good teams than bad ones. It’s time to find a coach who will not succumb to the temptation to experiment, and will choose good teams.

Must know how to coach rugby

In many ways, coaching rugby is one of the main jobs of a rugby coach. An exhaustive interview process will ensure that Australia gets a coach who knows how to coach rugby. Questions like, “Is falling over in a lineout good or bad?” and “How much of a training session should be devoted to practising moves from set pieces, and how much should be devoted to learning how to give away penalties while in possession?” will help weed out those who are less suited to the task.

David Porecki of the Wallabies warms up during the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Must be a good man-manager


In the modern game it is not enough to simply scream orders at the players and brand them with hot irons if they disobey. That’s part of it, sure, but you also need to tailor your approach to individual players and try not to make them want to kill you. The board should seek a candidate with the admittedly rare blend of psychological insight and personal hygiene that means few, if any, of the Test squad are tempted to fake injuries or auto-immune diseases to get out of training.

Must have attended at least one rugby game in their life

This really is a necessary condition for employment as Wallabies coach. Ideally they should have to show their ticket.

Must do everything that rugby journalists and commentators tell them to do

One of the most important attributes in a leader is the ability to listen to good advice, and there is no better advice than that offered by the Australian rugby commentariat. It should be written into the next Australian coach’s contract that whenever an employee of any media outlet offers an opinion on what they should do, they must do it immediately. The urgency of this requirement is shown by studies that have proven that obeying the wishes of commentators would have seen Australia win the last five World Cups.


Must be able to completely overhaul the structure of Australian rugby and implement a grassroots-up system and foolproof pipeline of juniors to senior international players that is the envy of all other nations in no more than six months

This is, frankly, the least we should be expecting.

Must sign a loyalty oath specifying that they will never sign, pursue, meet with, talk to or look at anyone who has ever played rugby league

It’s time to go cold turkey. It would be preferable if the next coach were entirely ignorant of rugby league’s existence, but realistically the best we can hope for is just they pretend it doesn’t exist for the length of their tenure.

Must have at least ten years’ experience coaching a winning international rugby team

We can have neither losers nor rookies in this vital post. The next Australian coach must have, for at least the past decade, been in charge of an international rugby team with a 90% or better winning record. I won’t pretend this kind of coach will be easy to find, but even if we have to scour the ranks of every Shute Shield club, it has to be done.

Must be comfortable with being sacked


The next Australian coach will almost certainly be sacked less than halfway through their term, so make sure we don’t hire a crybaby.