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'It won't happen': Rennie rules out Jones' Wallabies homecoming before RWC

By Finn Morton
(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The international rugby rumour mill was in full swing last month after super coach Eddie Jones was sensationally axed by the RFU just nine months out from this year’s World Cup.

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While there were murmurs about a potential role in the United States, and a stunning move to rugby league, there was one report which was especially intriguing for fans Down Under.

The Wallabies are coming off a disastrous campaign, as they slumped to just five wins from 14 test matches. A late try against Wales in Cardiff saw the men in gold avoid their worst season since 1958.

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Under fire head coach Dave Rennie has not been axed by Rugby Australia, and is expected` to remain in charge through to the World Cup.

But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use some help.

Jones, who is one of the greatest coaches in international rugby history, has been linked with a stunning return to Australian shores.

While the 62-year-old tried to downplay these rumours in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald last month, speculation continues to persist as the rugby guru remains a free agent.

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As reported last month, Australian rugby journalist Tom Decent is “quietly confident” will return to the Wallabies setup in some capacity in the future – but in what role remains to be seen.

However, ahead of a four-day training camp on the Gold Coast, head coach Rennie attempted to put any rumours to bed. Rennie ruled out working alongside Jones at this year’s World Cup.

“It won’t happen before (the World Cup),” Rennie said. “There’s a fair bit of speculation about a lot of things but my focus is on this group and the World Cup.

“Anything else happening beyond that will be clarified over the next few months.

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“We’ve had no discussions around that. There’s no plan to make alterations to the coaching group at this stage.

“I haven’t spoken to Hamish (McLennan) and haven’t spoken to Andy (Marinos) about it. My assumption is we’re going to push on.”

But Jones’ sacking could the start of an unprecedented international rugby coaching merry-go-round; there has never been so much uncertainty.

As reported by Australian website The Roar, Rennie has been linked with a move to Japan Rugby League One club Kobe Steelers after this year’s World Cup.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is also believed to be on his way to Japan following the sports premier event in France.

“All I’ll say is I haven’t signed with Kobe,” he added. “My focus is totally here. We’ve spent a big chunk of December when we got back doing reviews and World Cup planning.

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“What happens beyond 2023 will probably be a bit clearer in the next few months.”

Rennie named his first Wallabies squad of the year a couple of days ago, with the team meeting for a training camp on the Gold Coast.

The 44-man squad includes uncapped loose forward Charlie Gamble, and injured duo Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi.

“What’s exciting for us is that over the past three years we’ve created genuine depth and competition of places,” Rennie said over the weekend.

“Of the 44 players, all bar two have worn the gold jersey over the past three year sand there’s also several fringe players who still have an opportunity to force their way into the next camp through strong Super Rugby form.

“We’ll use the four days to make sure all players head back to their franchises with a clear understanding on what will give them the best chance to representing their country in a World Cup year.”

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