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The Wallabies could've won this year's RWC with Rennie, but will under Jones

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia’s staggering decision to axe Dave Rennie eight months out from this year’s World Cup has sent shockwaves around the globe, but it’s a decision that had to be made.

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The Wallabies have been cast aside by many fans and pundits as nothing more than a dark horse for the sports ultimate prize; a mere pretender who lays claim to being a fallen giant of rugby union.

Australia is coming off a disastrous campaign which saw the men in gold win just five of their 14 test matches in 2022.

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Rugby fans Down Under have been waiting patiently for a golden generation of talent to make their mark on the test arena, but clearly even the stars of tomorrow have fallen short under Rennie.

But the former Wallabies coach doesn’t deserve all the blame. Far from it.

An injury crisis swept through the squad last year, as more than 50 players donned Wallaby gold throughout an educational campaign.

However, rugby is a results drive industry.

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The most competitive Rugby World Cup ever beckons, and the Wallabies are still daring to dream despite their lacklustre run of form.

Australian rugby is in desperate need of a hero, and they’ve turned to a super coach once believed to be more deserving of the villainy moniker to guide them to glory.

Former England boss Eddie Jones will metaphorically don the cape, cowl and coaching whistle as the 62-year-old spearheads the Wallabies’ World Cup charge this year.

Following multiple media reports on Monday morning, it was confirmed that Jones had inked a five-year deal with Rugby Australia – which would include the Lions series in 2025.

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“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a Rugby World Cup,” Jones said.

“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 am really looking forward to getting back home and getting stuck in.”

The Australian-born Jones hasn’t coached the Wallabies since 2005, just a couple of years after he guided them to a World Cup final on home soil.

Since leaving the Wallabies, Jones has etched his name into rugby folklore.

Jones is more than deserving of legendary status, and will go down in history as one of the greatest rugby minds to have ever graced the international game.

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The 62-year-old won a World Cup with the Springboks in 2007, and also led England to a spot in the final at the last tournament in Japan.

While it may not be his crowning achievement considering he’s a world champion, Jones reached rugby immortality as he led Japan to a stunning win over South Africa in 2015 – one of the most famous results in the history of the sport.

A movie called ‘The Brighton Miracle’ was released four years later, starring legendary actor Temuera Morrison who played the star coach.

Eddie Jones knows World Cups, he’s an expert; there’s no one better suited to lead the Wallabies to eternal glory in France later this year.

Jones’ track record simply speaks for itself.

The Wallabies’ path to World Cup glory is also easier than some may think, as they’re set to avoid the current top four teams in international rugby until at least the semi-finals.

But the Wallabies wouldn’t back down from the challenge if they had to face either Ireland, France, New Zealand or South Africa.

Australia boasts an impressive squad of players who, when fit and healthy, can match it with the best teams in the world.

The Wallabies were without the likes of Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi last year, but still managed to record wins over reigning World Cup champions South Africa and England.

They also fell agonisingly short against the All Blacks, France and Ireland – and arguably deserved to win all of those matches too.

Those rugby mad nations are the top five teams in men’s rugby right now, and an understrength Australia more than held their won against them.

If the wounded Wallabies can get their injury crisis under control, then that’s one thing, but Jones’ expertise against these teams is also second to none.

There have been nine Rugby World Cups in history, and eight of them have been won by Southern Hemisphere teams.

England bucked that trend in 2003, but there have been no kings of the north since.

But that could change; in fact, there has never been so much excitement, pressure and scrutiny on Six Nations teams to hoist the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Ireland are the world’s top ranked side, while World No. 2 France are on an incredible winning streak which dates back to the middle of 2021.

French rugby supporters are reportedly “tired of waiting” for the elusive World Cup crown, but they are favoured to finally break their curse on home soil later this year.

But Jones has just spent seven years in the Northern Hemisphere, matching it with the best teams in the world throughout the annual Six Nations.

Jones knows how they play – he’s a genius tactician.

With the right players in front of him, which Australia have, then there’s no reason why they can’t surprise the rugby world later this year.

The pieces are all there, but Jones’ influence and expertise might be enough to finally finish off the puzzle.

Australian sports fans are obsessed with winning, and really those who call Down Under home are spoilt for choice.

As the Wallabies have struggled in the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations/Rugby Championship, teams in other codes have had their share of success, and have caught the attention of some wayward fans.

So, winning is important. If rugby is to return to its former glory in Australia, then Jones needs to reignite that spark.

But what Jones brings to any team also can’t be ignored.

Jones is box office.

The super coach has a highly entertaining personality, which love it or hate it, is impossible to ignore.

Jones will give rugby unions profile a much-needed boost in Australia, almost regardless of how the team performs on the field.

Former coach Dave Rennie is a lot better than his 38% win record suggests, but the opportunity to lure Jones back to Australian shores before this year’s World Cup was just too good to turn down.

In fact, Rugby Australia would’ve been doing the sport a disservice if they had ignored the opportunity.

They could’ve won this World Cup with Rennie, but they will with Jones.

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