Rugby: Dave Rennie's Wallabies axing at odds with assurances from Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos

At Rugby Australia headquarters, the revolving door of head coaches has gone around once more, with everyone away, as news of Dave Rennie's sacking as Wallabies coach broke back home. 

Barely a month after he was sacked by England, Eddie Jones has returned to coach Australia for the second time, taking over from Rennie, who was dismissed after three years in charge.

Rugby Australia was planning to announce the move next week, but has had to move fast, Rennie, Jones and chief executive Andy Marinos all overseas as the news unfolded.

With Rennie coaching a team plagued by injuries and poor results, Marinos couldn’t back what he told Newshub just last month. 

"We know Dave is going to take us to the World Cup," he said.

Sacking Rennie, Marinos has thanked him for "the work ethic, the spirit within the group and the way the team carries itself". 

With a winning record of just 38 percent, Rennie seemed to be living on borrowed time.

"In the first quarter of next year, we will be sitting down to understand what the long-term future looks like," Marinos told Newshub in December.   

That future now looks like Jones.

"It's pretty obvious they need a good cattle prod," said Wallabies great and rugby commentator Peter FitzSimons. "Well, there is no bigger cattle prod in world rugby than Eddie Jones."   

Recently axed as coach of England, Jones is familiar with World Cup finals, losing one as Australia’s head coach in 2003 and another with England in 2019. He has also touched the gold, helping South Africa to the top in 2007 as technical advisor.

Eddie Jones coaching England to a draw against the All Blacks
Eddie Jones coaching England to a draw against the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty Images

Jones, 62, is now signed to oversee two more World Cups with the Wallabies, who haven’t won since 1999.

“If we can have everyone fit and healthy going into the World Cup this year, I am confident we can go to France and break the 24-year drought of winning," he said.

"I would like to think Eddie can do it," said former Wallabies captain Mark Ella. "Seven months, eight months isn't a long time to get this moving again."  

Ella has known Jones since he was three years old and even he admits he was shocked by the announcement.

"I thought we were going with the status quo." 

Rugby Australia is no stranger to making bold decisions, especially when it comes to a coach who's no stranger to a World Cup final. 

Rennie took over the Wallabies in a very turbulent time during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, presiding over the Israel Folau saga and the messy end to Michael Cheika's tenure as coach.

He has reportedly signed on with the Japanese Kobe Steelers at the end of 2023, with no assurances from Rugby Australia that he would be retained beyond the World Cup.

Commentators have warned Wallabies players to expect a very different coaching style from Jones.