Let’s make a deal: Eddie open to walking away from Wallabies if Rugby Australia wants to cut its losses
Eddie Jones looks like he has coached his last Test for the Wallabies his representatives reportedly offered to strike a deal with Rugby Australia over an early exit from his contract in the wake of the team’s World Cup failure.
As first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday, the veteran mentor is open to moving on from the role after he has been continuously linked to returning to Japan to oversee the Cherry Blossoms.
Jones is contracted with RA until the next World Cup on home soil in 2027 on a lucrative deal.
It’s understood Jones has clauses that allow him to walk away from the Wallabies coaching job at the end of 2023.
The Roar understands that RA, too, has the ability to farewell Jones without paying him out in full should CEO Phil Waugh and chairman Hamish McLennan believe the coaching situation is untenable.
One of Jones’ closest allies, Wallabies manager Chris Webb, has already departed.
Since the Wallabies’ ugly World Cup flop, the governing body has had two waves of cleanouts over the past month.
The first came in the days after the Wallabies’ pool exit earlier this month. The next has come over the past week.
The vast majority of Jones’ high-performance structure now no longer exists, including the several psychologists that were brought in to try and change the mindset of the Wallabies after years of underperformance.
That is because most were only ever signed on short-term deals given the hasty arrival of Jones as head coach.
Dan Palmer (lineout), Jason Ryles (attack) and Pierre-Henry Broncan (maul) have each finished up with the Wallabies.
Defence coach Brett Hodgson remains on the books, with the former NSW State of Origin fullback contracted through until 2024.
Strength and Conditioning coach Nigel Ashley-Jones also remains contracted.
The future of Wallabies forwards coach Neal Hatley remains unclear.
The experienced forwards coach is contracted until the end of November. Even now, the UK-based coach is preparing for next year’s July Tests, which includes two Tests against Wales.
Jones is overseeing the Barbarians’ exhibition match against Wales in Cardiff on November 4.
His future has been the talk of the town for the past six months ever since stating on the Evening Standard podcast with Lawrence Dallaglio that he planned on leaving his role as Wallabies coach following the 2023 Word Cup. Even before then, rumours were swirling that he would leave.
The uncertainty surrounding his future has gone into overdrive over the past six weeks following a bombshell report linking him to a return to the Japan Rugby Football Union as Jamie Joseph’s replacement as head coach.
Jones insisted afterwards he has had no contact with the JFRU despite reports saying he will participate in a second interview for the vacant role.
Before signing on as Wallabies coach, Jones was assured the game’s finances would be supercharged through an injection from private equity and reform measures to allow for greater alignment.
Neither have taken place yet despite the five Australian Super Rugby franchises in principle supporting high-performance alignment.
The lack of progress with the Super states, as well as the inability to bring in new revenue, could see Jones run out of patience and instead walk.