Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan has confirmed he wants to continue in the job through to the 2027 World Cup on home soil despite copping much of the blame for the Eddie Jones disaster that ended when the Wallabies coach quit on Sunday.
McLennan was largely responsible for setting the wheels in motion for the mess that began when he axed Dave Rennie and brought the then recently axed England head coach across in his place earlier this year.
Nine months on from that fateful decision that led the Wallabies to a historic Rugby World Cup pool exit, McLennan is digging in.
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In a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald, McLennan said he’ll not be leaving on his own accord.
“I want to stay to deliver the 2027 World Cup in Australia,” he said.
“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.”
Rugby Australia is yet to formally confirm Jones has quit, though that’s expected to be announced in a press conference on Tuesday.
Jones’ second stint at the helm of the Wallabies lasted all of nine Test matches. They won just two of them.
The Wallabies were bundled out of the Rugby World Cup before the quarter-finals and fell to 10th in the world rankings – an all-time low.
Soon, the Wallabies will have another new coach, the fourth in five years.
Incumbent Leicester coach Dan McKellar has long been mooted as the number one preference to succeed Jones.
ACT Brumbies’ Stephen Larkham is another homegrown name that has swirled as an option.
One man who shouldn’t be considered, according to former Wallabies fullback Matt Burke, is Michael Cheika.
If the form guide is anything to go by, getting back with an ex is not the way to go, he said.
“I think they need to move on from that,” said Burke on Sky Sports Radio’s The Big Sports Breakfast.
“Do they look at someone like Stephen Larkham? He had a stint under Cheika in 2015. Is he mature enough to make that switch? It certainly has to be an Australian. Hopefully, they get the right direction for Australian rugby.
“The Wallabies are lower than Qantas with how they are perceived. 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.”
Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald he was not taking a job with the Japanese Rugby Football Union.
It has been reported he is set for a second interview with the JRFU next month.