Dave Rennie will lead the Wallabies to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. (AAP/SNPA: David Rowland)
New Zealander Dave Rennie will lead the Wallabies to the 2023 Rugby World Cup after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal with Rugby Australia.
- New Zealander Dave Rennie will take charge of the Wallabies at the conclusion of the Pro14 season.
- Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle said Rennie was the “clear standout” in the field of candidates.
- Rennie’s first Test as coach will come against Ireland in July.
The 55-year-old, who was also linked with the vacant All Blacks role, will finish his contract with the Glasgow Warriors before taking up his position with Australia at the end of the current Pro14 season.
He replaces Michael Cheika, who did not have his contract renewed after the Wallabies’ disappointing defeat to England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle said Rennie was a “clear standout” in the field of contenders.
“This is a massive coup for Australian Rugby, Dave Rennie was the clear standout candidate for the job, and we’re thrilled to have secured his services.”
A two-time Super Rugby winning coach with the Chiefs, Rennie will resume his coaching relationship with Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson, who was Scotland’s performance manager when he was appointed by Glasgow in 2016.
“Between now and June, the Wallabies assistant coaches and director of rugby, Scott Johnson will take the lead in working with the players under Dave’s guidance and direction,” Castle said.
“Dave and Scott worked closely together during their time in Scotland and will join forces once again to implement Rugby Australia’s National High Performance Plan.
“With Dave as head coach, and Scott managing our off-field program, the Wallabies have the right structure in place to build for the next era of sustained success.”
Rennie’s relationship with Johnson is a stark contrast to the previous director of rugby/head coach relationship.
In the aftermath of the Wallabies ignominious Rugby World Cup exit, Cheika claimed that he found it difficult working under Johnson.
“Scott’s a lovely bloke … but I’m not really into that type of thing,” Cheika told Fox Sports.
“I like to take responsibility.”
‘I believe I can make a difference here’
Rugby in Australia has been considered be at a low ebb after the World Cup exit and poor run of results, but Rennie said Castle’s vision for Australian rugby was what sold him the role.
“When I met Raelene Castle, I was really impressed with her plans for the future of Australian Rugby and I’m keen to be part of that,” Rennie said via a Rugby Australia statement.
“I believe I can make a difference here.
“There are some outstanding young men coming through the schools system. I want to create a strong connection with the Super Rugby and national age grade coaches and help them achieve their goals, which will benefit the Wallabies in time.”
Castle also paid credit to Rennie’s time in Glasgow, saying his time in European rugby helped his case.
“He has a proven track record in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere,” Castle said.
“Dave’s coaching philosophy focuses equally on football and team culture, the key pillars to building sustainable success in any team.”
Castle confirmed the search for the new coach had been ongoing for the past six months after incumbent coach Cheika suggested in “early 2019 the possibility that he would not seek re-appointment for the role”.
“When Michael then confirmed he would not seek re-appointment following our Rugby World Cup exit, we moved to appoint our preferred candidate,” Castle said.
Rennie will take charge of the Wallabies for the first time against Ireland, in Brisbane on July 4 and at the SCG on July 11, before the Rugby Championship campaign.