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International Rugby Union: Motivated Eddie Jones is back with the Wallabies

With less than nine months until the start of the 2023 World Cup, Australia have made a big call to bring Eddie Jones back as head coach.

As Dave Rennie parts company with Rugby Australia, the Wallabies have turned to a coach with an excellent World Cup record in Jones ahead of a big year in the international game. 

Swift return to the big stage for Jones 

Having been dismissed by the RFU from the England job in December, it has not taken Jones long to get back to work. 

After seven years in the role with the Red Rose, two disappointing Six Nations campaigns and a mixed Autumn Series last year cost Jones his job at Twickenham. 

Jones said after his dismissal that he had "one last big job in him" and his return to the Australia role appears to be it. 

"It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to come home to Australia and lead my nation to a Rugby World Cup," Jones said. 

"It is going to be an immense period for Australian rugby - as a proud Australian, it is a great honour to be able to come home and lead the national team during these years." 

Jones was head coach of Australia between 2001 and 2005 and takes over a current Wallabies side that struggled for consistency under former Glasgow Warriors boss Rennie. 

It’s a massive opportunity for Jones, who has been given a contract that will cover the next two World Cups and the highly-anticipated British & Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2025.

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A managerial reshuffle across the game 

The appointment of Jones is the third major coaching change in recent weeks ahead of the World Cup in France. 

Former Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick took Jones’ job at England, while the experienced Warren Gatland made a shock return to the Welsh job following Wayne Pivac’s mixed fortunes with the national side. 

Unions have clearly been forced to decide whether or not to stick or twist ahead of the global showpiece and time will tell if Australia, England and Wales made the right decision. 

After just four wins in their last two Six Nations campaigns, England are 11/2 to win the World Cup this year, while Wales are outsiders at 25/1 to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time in their history.

What are the Wallabies’ chances in France? 

Jones’ Australia find themselves in Pool C for the 2023 World Cup, with the likes of Wales, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal also in their group. 

The battle for the top two places is most likely to come down to the Wallabies, Wales and the Fijians. Australia are firm favourites at 8/13 to win Pool C, with the Welsh at 11/8 and Fiji at 22/1.  

The Wallabies have not had a good record against the Welsh in recent years, losing three of their last four meetings, including a 29-25 defeat at the last World Cup in 2019. 

Australia did manage a 39-34 shock comeback win over Wales in their last meeting in November, which contributed to Pivac’s departure from the head coach role at the Principality Stadium. 

That clash between Australia and Wales on 24th September at the OL Stadium in Lyon will play a key role in deciding who finishes top of the pool. 

Fiji, as always, are the unknown entity in this group. Capable of beating any side on their day, the question will be whether Vern Cotter’s team can put together an 80 minute performance against the Wallabies or the Welsh. 

With the quality at their disposal and with Jones set to bring his winning mentality to the squad, Australia should be making at least the quarter-final stage of the competition. 

The Wallabies, who are 10/1 to win the tournament on French soil, could potentially face old rivals England in the last eight, as they did in Japan.  

That is a potential contest that would leave many of the hierarchy with England hot under the collar, as Jones would love nothing more than to prove to the RFU they were wrong to let him go in the first place. 

Jones is a coach with a point to prove and when the experienced tactician is in that kind of mind frame, success usually follows.

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