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Eddie Jones
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Rugby Union: Five candidates to replace Eddie Jones

Rugby Australia are continuing the search for a successor to Eddie Jones and they have a host of options to explore.

Jones quit as coach following the Wallabies’ shock early exit from the World Cup, and it means Rugby Australia have to go back to the drawing board.

Jones arrived in the hope he could mastermind a smash-and-grab raid on the 2023 World Cup, but looking at the bigger picture, the World Cup on home soil in 2027 was the real target.

Following the disaster that ensued in France, Jones quit just 10 months into the job, and the race is now on to replace him.

The Wallabies are priced at 8.00 to win the 2027 World Cup in Australia, and now need to find a coach capable of taking them there.

The new man will also have to prepare for the 2025 series against the British and Irish Lions. So while Rugby Australia are keen to take their time and get the right man, they cannot afford to dawdle too much.

Let’s take a look at the five main contenders for the role.

Dan McKellar

Starting with the man who is the hot fancy to replace Jones and get the job, former Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.

McKellar has been linked with the job in the past and was part of the coaching set-up under Davie Rennie before Jones took charge.

McKellar is currently in the UK, working as head coach of the Leicester Tigers, but reports claim there is a clause in his three-year contract that would allow him to leave if the Wallabies came knocking.

All the early talk suggests they will do just that. The 47-year-old worked wonders with the Brumbies and has over 20 years experience in coaching.

Many believe McKellar is the man to galvanise the Wallabies and he is the leading candidate at this stage.

Stephen Larkham

However there are other names in the frame and Stephen Larkham is one of them.

Larkham is the man who replaced McKellar when he left the Brumbies and has continued the good work when guiding them to the semi-finals last year.

The 49-year-old was Michael Cheika’s senior assistant when the Wallabies made it to the World Cup final in 2015.

Larkham played a key role in that run to the final and could now get the chance to be head coach for the 2027 push.

Michael Cheika

Talking of Cheika, there has been mention of him returning for a second stint. Rugby Australia are said to be most keen on McKellar and Larkham but will want options.

After the Jones debacle, Rugby Australia may be reluctant to bring Cheika back, but reports claim he has been in the conversation.

Cheika has had a strong spell in charge of Argentina and a shock return cannot be completely ruled out.

Ian Foster

The All Black coach is heading for the exit door following the World Cup campaign which saw them lose the final to South Africa.

Foster refused to hold talks with potential future employers while the World Cup was going on, but will now be free to speak.

He probably wasn’t expecting the Wallabies job to come up and is sure to be open-minded about the role if Rugby Australia come knocking.

Andy Friend

The Australian coach is another name to be mention following successful spells in both the southern and north hemisphere.

He just had a successful spell as Director of Rugby for Irish province Connacht but is now back in Australia and could be in the frame.

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