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'Unduly punished': Why RA have made a 'big mistake' by axing Rennie

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Broadcaster James McOnie believes former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was “unduly punished” by Rugby Australia, as he was sensationally replaced by Eddie Jones earlier this month.

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Rugby Australia’s staggering decision to axe Rennie eight months out from this year’s World Cup in France sent shockwaves around the world.

But after more than a week, the decision continues to perplex some well-known rugby gurus across the ditch.

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World Cup hero Stephen Donald and commentator Scotty Stevenson have both slammed the decision – and they aren’t the only ones either.

Reporter James McOnie has voiced his critique of the stunning decision, as he suggest that Rennie had actually “worked a few things out” for the Wallabies.

“I just feel like Dave Rennie has been unduly punished, McOnie said on Weekend Sport with Jason Pine on Sunday.

“He’s kind of, for me, worked a few things out for that Australian team.

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“I hope he didn’t get punished for that Melbourne game where the French referee punished old Bernard Foley… that should be counted as a W in the column surely against the All Blacks.

“There’s big disconnect when you’re a Kiwi coach over there and I’ve heard this form ex-Wallabies, I remember Phil Waugh the flanker telling me, he said it was really hard having Robbie Deans trying to gee you up beat these bastards from across the Tasman.”

Nothing really went Dave Rennie’s way during last year’s test campaign – and the same can be said about the Wallabies as a whole.

An injury crisis made its way through the squad, and the team had to adapt as untested combinations were named for crucial clashes.

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But rugby is a results driven industry – and that was never going to bode well for Rennie following last year’s disastrous campaign.

The Wallabies only managed to win five of their 14 test matches last year, but fell agonisingly short against Ireland, France and the All Blacks – the world’s top three teams.

While the men in gold appeared to be building towards something, the writing was seemingly already on the wall.

Rennie’s fate was somewhat sealed as former England coach Eddie Jones was sacked by the RFU last month.

While Jones has a history of short term success with every team that he’s gone to, McOnie reinforced his point that Rugby Australia had still “made a big mistake.”

“If you look at Eddie Jones, he’s the sort of coach who will text you at four in the morning, he’s very intense, he comes in at 100 miles an hour,” he added.

“He’s an angry little elf as well so he will come at you like a spider monkey. He’s just one of those guy who is all jacked up on Mountain Dew.

“You look at the teams (he’s coached), he does a good turnaround in one or two years so this is probably the perfect job for him.

“What annoys me, personally I think Dave Rennie is possibly one of the best if not the best rugby coach in the world, he hasn’t had a chance to show it yet with the Wallabies.

“The perfect mixture, I think, of the analytical guy, the uncle who can put the arm around the shoulder but also the tough love guy who can make it pretty clear what he wants from you and kind of scare you a bit.

“They’ve made a big mistake there.”

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