Rugby Australia Chairman vows to stay on amid Wallabies coaching fallout
Rugby Australia (RA) Chairman Hamish McLennan has affirmed his commitment to remaining in his role until the 2027 home World Cup, despite facing criticism for the recent resignation of Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. In the wake of this coaching debacle, McLennan has made it clear that he does not intend to step down.
McLennan, who played a pivotal role in Jones’ appointment after parting ways with former coach Dave Rennie in preparation for this year’s Rugby World Cup, is standing firm despite the Wallabies’ historically early exit from the tournament.
“I want to stay to deliver the 2027 World Cup in Australia,” McLennan explained in a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“That has always been the big prize for Australian rugby. More destabilisation will just make matters worse just when we’re about to break through. Life is not a continuous line of perfect calls and success. I came to rugby to find a way to fix it when it all fell over and despite the sad Eddie situation, this is another hurdle we’ll overcome.”
Jones’ tenure as the Wallabies coach was short-lived, with only nine Test matches and two victories under his leadership. Australia slipped to 10th place in the world rankings following their failure to make it out of the World Cup pool stage, marking arguably the lowest point in Wallabies history. RA confirmed Jones’ departure on Tuesday.
With the coaching position now vacant, the Wallabies are expected to consider experienced candidates like World Cup-winning legend Stephen Larkham and former Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar for the role. Michael Cheika, a former Wallabies coach who recently guided Argentina to the World Cup semi-finals, is also being linked to a possible return.
However, former Wallabies fullback Matt Burke cautioned against a reunion with Cheika, noting that past relationships with coaches have not yielded success. He suggested that the next coach should ideally be an Australian, emphasising the need for the right direction in Australian rugby.
“The Wallabies are lower than Qantas with how they are perceived,” Burke said.
“Maybe it’s better for Australian rugby. Jones was always going to come out and say he didn’t get the resources, but in hindsight when we look back it wasn’t the right choice.
“We all got caught up in the hype of Eddie Jones. Look what he did with England in 2015, but it’s been a catastrophic fail. The last six months he has had and the erratic decision making, that was the most frustrating part.”