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Eddie Jones resigns as Wallabies coach after 10-month nightmare

The Eddie Jones era is over, with the Wallabies coach reportedly resigning his post just 10 months into his five-year, $5m deal.

According to reports, Jones and his representatives informed Rugby Australia on Friday that he was open to walking away from the Wallabies job, following Australia’s disastrous early exit from the 2023 World Cup. RA has a review of the tournament under way, but Jones has decided to skip out before November.

After telling AAP on Sunday that his resignation “was not far away”, with the paperwork between the parties to be signed this week, Jones and RA agreed to exit terms on Sunday night.

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Jones told The Australian he had agreed to terms for his departure and there would be no payout.

“I feel disappointment about the fact that what we wanted to do in terms of changing the system hasn’t been able to happen in the short term,” Jones said.

“I have a major feeling of disappointment. But I don’t feel any grievance towards anyone. I’ve really enjoyed coaching the players. The players have been fantastic. They just need a better environment to be training and playing in.”

The development is a major humiliation to Australian rugby after they sacked former coach Dave Rennie and hired Jones in January following his sacking as England boss.

RA trumpeted Jones, 63, as the saviour of the game in Australia and, in a “world first”, appointed him overseer of the men’s and women’s rugby programs, with free rein to deliver success in time for the 2027 Men’s World Cup and the 2029 Women’s World Cup to be hosted in Australia.

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“Eddie instinctively understands the Australian way of playing rugby” RA chairman Hamish McLennan said at the time, claiming Jones was “the best coach in the world” and possessed a “deep understanding of our rugby system and knowledge of our player group and pathways will lift the team to the next level”.

But the second coming of Jones – he also coached the national team 2001-05 – has been a mess from the beginning. Jones’s side fumbled their way to five straight losses, a winless Rugby Championship and a 2-0 blackout in the Bledisloe Cup. Then at the World Cup, with a rookie squad ruthlessly culled of experienced warriors, Jones coached Australia to historic defeats by Fiji and Wales and an early elimination.

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Ultimately, the Wallabies won just two of the nine Tests he coached them in – including against rugby minnows Georgia and Portugal – as Jones fell foul of the media and rugby fans with his strange selections (he used six different captains across nine Tests), bizarre tactics and left-field coaching staff.

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It had been rumoured that Jones already has his next job lined up, after multiple media sources claimed last month that Jones had an interview with Japan rugby officials about taking over as that country’s head coach in 2024. That interview reportedly took place just days before Australia’s pre-World Cup warmup Test against host nation France, a game the Wallabies lost 41-17.

Jones has repeatedly denied he had interviewed for the role or had any contact with the JRFU or any third parties and declared his loyalty to the Wallabies until 2027.

“I’m staying, mate,” he said after returning to Australia. “I’ve always been committed to Australian rugby and I want to leave it in a better place – that’s still the job. I haven’t been speaking to anybody. My intention is to stay … but we play in a game where the coach doesn’t decide how long they stay.”

Jones is now in the UK co-coaching a Barbarians XV with incoming All Blacks coach Scott Robertson for a match against Wales on 5 November.