Yesterday, Rugby Australia announced that Dave Rennie had been sacked as Wallabies coach, and would be replaced by Eddie Jones. It was announced that Jones has been given a long term contract that will take him through the 2027 Rugby World Cup (in Australia).

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on 8 September, less than nine months after the appointment of Jones. It's a late decision made by Rugby Australia, but it is consistent with a pattern of decisions made in recent years about the management of the upper echelons of the organisation.

Raelene Castle was the last high-profile departure, as CEO of Rugby Australia in April 2020. Castle stepped down after a letter from several former Wallabies' captains was made public, setting out that they had lost confidence in her ability to manage the sport in Australia. Her departure in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic rocked a sport that was on financially-shaky ground at the time.

Her departure was preceded by the resignation of Michael Cheika in 2019, after the last World Cup. Cheika's departure was after the Wallabies lost in the World Cup quarter-final, 40-16 to England.

Before Cheika resigned, there was significant upheaval at the start of 2019, as attack coach Stephen Larkham was sacked, and a new selection panel was introduced.

When Rennie was appointed, it was assumed that he would coach through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Even after a disastrous 2022, that was still the understanding of the public, given the injury crisis that affected the Wallabies last year.

Rennie, admittedly, had struggled for results for much of his tenure, recording the worst winning percentage since Des Connor coached the Wallabies in 1971, with a win in just 36 per cent of matches.

Rennie's other big failing was developing an attack and a flyhalf. Quade Cooper has looked to be the best choice to play the position throughout Rennie's time until his Achilles tear last year. Noah Lolesio, Matt To'omua and James O'Connor have been given opportunities, but have not been persisted with.

The lack of a clearcut flyhalf option has also stymied the Wallabies' attack for years, as they have lacked backline cohesion, and the ability to use the devastating potential of the outside backs, whether young players like Mark Nawaqanitawase and Len Ikitau or experienced heads like Marieke Koroibete, Jordan Petaia and Hunter Paisami.

Despite those failings, Rennie will be justified in feeling hard done by. Just months out from a World Cup that was always his target and centrepiece, he has lost his job, after a season affected by a seemingly-unprecedented injury crisis, and after years of domestic rugby being affected by financial troubles and COVID-19.

But Rennie is out, and Eddie Jones, a long-gone but not-forgotten son of Australian rugby has returned. For those unfamiliar, Jones was the Wallabies coach from 2001 to 2005, coaching 57 matches for the Wallabies, winning 57 per cent of those games.

Since his departure in 2005, Jones has coached in South Africa (as a technical adviser), Japan (head coach) and most recently, England (head coach). Jones was sacked by the RFU in England in December 2022, after a poor year, where the team won five of 12 matches (for the record, Rennie's Wallabies won five of 14 last year).

Immediately after Jones was sacked, there were questions about whether he would return to Australia in some form. Despite that, nobody saw Rennie's sacking and replacement coming.

So who is the man that Rugby Australia has signed to coach the Wallabies through the next two World Cups?

Jones is notorious as a ruthless coach, willing and able to drive his players to success. He has a track record of winning at the World Cup, where has always helped guide sides to strong performances.

That drive for success makes him an effective coach but is also part of why he was sacked in England and has been moved on elsewhere as well.

Jones' hard edge does eventually wear people out. With a World Cup this year, and the Wallabies desperate to play well, that hard edge will play well for now. But it is five years until a home World Cup. Will Jones wear out his welcome in that time?

Based on the track record in Japan and England, by the time Jones leaves his post, there could be a totally different look - new coaches, new players, and a system where administrators, media and the public are calling for the head coach to go. But if he wins, will that be the case?

There is little doubt that the fire and brimstone approach of the new coach will pay dividends in some form for this World Cup. It's all about whether it's the right move for the next one - where Australia will be looking to do well to sure up the financial and recruiting future of the game.

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