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Ex-Wallaby legend sets the 'pass mark' for incoming coach Eddie Jones

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The rugby world was rocked on Monday morning Australian time as news broke that Eddie Jones will return to coach the Wallabies just weeks after being let go by England.

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Head coach Dave Rennie has been sacked, effective immediately, in order to make way for Jones to start on January 28th, who has been handed a five-year deal to coach the side through 2027.

Former Wallaby legend and two-time World Cup-winner Tim Horan reacted to the blockbuster appointment as a bold ‘risk’ that might be worth taking given the state of the Wallabies win-loss record.

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Horan went further to set the bar for incoming coach Jones to ‘justify’ the dramatic decision to let Rennie go with three milestones he must meet.

His criteria for success include winning the Bledisloe Cup back within two years, a trophy the Wallabies last held during Jones last tenure as head coach in 2002, making a World Cup semi-final and winning the British & Irish Lions series in 2025.

The 2023 Bledisloe Cup will be a two-match fixture, with one already scheduled to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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With the other one on New Zealand soil, the Wallabies would have to win both Tests to reclaim the Cup.

Australia does have a favourable 2023 World Cup draw after being grouped in Pool C alongside Wales and Fiji. They will face off against Pool D qualifiers but none of the current top four ranked sides will feature on the Wallabies side.

Former Wallaby great Matt Giteau also weighed in, who was coached by Jones early in his international career, had a warning for the current playing group.

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Ex-Wallaby Drew Mitchell commented that the situation reminded him of 2019 but asked where the accountability is for the selection committee that have made the decision.

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos thanked Dave Rennie for his work in an official statement recognising the effort of the Kiwi coach over his three-year tenure.

“I would like to thank Dave for his hard work and effort with the Wallabies – we are grateful for all that he has done for Australian Rugby,” Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said.

“Dave has been instrumental in developing much of the depth that we see in and around the current Wallabies squad; there are a number of players that are genuine World Cup possibilities because of opportunities that Dave has provided.

“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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