Next Australia Rugby Head Coach Odds: Who Could Replace Eddie Jones?
Following his side’s Rugby World Cup group stage shock exit, Eddie Jones has resigned as the Australia head coach.
The Fijians needed just one point from their remaining pool encounter against Portugal to join the Welsh in the final-eight from Pool C and they just about got the job done, despite losing the match.
Thanks in no small part to his past World Cup work with the Wallabies, South Africa (in an advisory capacity) and England, Rugby Australia offered Jones a second stint as head coach as a replacement for Dave Rennie in January of this year.
Yet it hasn’t gone according to plan and with reports surfacing that he held discussions with the Japan Rugby Football Union to take over their team (for a second time), it is clear that Jones is keen to get back into management since resigning with Australia.
This will grab the attention of bookies and we are taking a look at some of the most viable options that Rugby Australia could consider for their next head coach.
So let’s see what online rugby betting sites are saying.
Larkham Could Be A Strong Option For Wallabies
A legendary fly-half on the Australian team that won the World Cup in 1999, Stephen Larkham was on board as a backs and attack coach 16 years later as the Wallabies reached another Webb Ellis Cup showpiece.
However, he was let go by Australian head coach Michael Cheika in advance of the 2019 edition of the tournament in Japan and over the course of a three-season stint alongside Johann van Graan at Munster, he could never quite get the Irish province’s attack to click in a consistent manner.
Nevertheless, he returned to head coaching duties with the Brumbies in July 2022 and brought them to the semi-final in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific Season.
He is currently the highest-ranked Australian coach in the SANZAAR competition and this – in addition to his continued popularity within the country – makes him a potential favourite as the next Wallabies supremo at odds of 4/1.
Friend’s Impressive Work With Connacht Will Have Him In The Running
Of course, he is contracted to the Brumbies for the 2024 Super Rugby season and may well be content with remaining at a team he previously served as a player, assistant coach and head coach (from 2014 to 2017).
One coach who is currently not tied down to any particular post is Canberra’s Andy Friend.
He recently brought the curtain down on a five-year spell at Connacht where he was lauded for the style of play he developed with the west of Ireland side and getting the very best out of the limited resources at his disposal.
This won’t have gone unnoticed amongst the Australian rugby fraternity and the fact that he has worked within their international system in the past could be seen as a bonus.
As well as having an advisory role with the Wallabies for the Tri Nations series and World Cup finals in 2002 and 2003 respectively, he also guided the country’s Under-21 side to a World Championships decider in 2005 and was head coach of the Australian Sevens for the two years that preceded his appointment in Connacht.
At odds of 6/1 with new betting sites, he could be considered a solid choice by Rugby Australia in the event of them embarking on a head coach hunt.
A Return For Cheika Could Be On The Cards
Despite only being appointed in March 2022, Sydney man Michael Cheika will be on the lookout for a new role once the World Cup finishes as his contract as Argentinian head coach only runs to the end of the tournament.
Cheika was in charge for Australia's march to a World Cup final in 2015 – an impressive feat when you consider it was less than 12 months on from his first international test with the side.
His tenure ended in a heavy quarter-final defeat to England in the 2019 edition of the World Cup, but there could well be an appetite to get him back in the Wallabies fold.
In spite of a disappointing pool stage loss to the English, Argentina are still in contention for a last-eight place at the very least in this year’s World Cup.
A Heineken Cup (Leinster), a Super Rugby title (Waratahs) and a Rugby Championship (Australia) are amongst the honours he has accrued as a coach and the former back-row is a strong option at 13/2.
Schmidt Could Be The Next Kiwi In Line
Rugby Australia have shown in the past that they are willing to look outside of the country for a head coach with Rennie becoming the second New Zealander – following Robbie Deans – to take charge of the Wallabies in 2019.
Now working as New Zealand’s attack coach after previously being on board as a selector, Joe Schmidt could have a desire for a return to head coaching duties in the wake of this World Cup.
He carved out a strong reputation when in charge of Leinster and Ireland, and the ex-school teacher is an outside option at 10/1 to be the third Kiwi to take on the Wallabies mantle.
Ryles And Kiss Could Make The Wallabies Shortlist
Very often in rugby union, it is an assistant in the previous regime who is tasked with taking over as a new head coach. Rugby Australia may be eager to look beyond the current set-up, but someone like Jason Ryles couldn’t be ruled out either – even on an interim basis.
An ex-rugby league player, Ryles periodically assisted Jones with England from 2016 to 2020, before officially joining for a brief spell as a skills coach.
At 14/1, he could be seen as a low-key appointment – something Rugby Australia may want as a direct contrast to the headline-grabbing Jones.
When Jones was appointed England head coach of England on November 20, 2015, it came just eight days after he had agreed to take over the Stormers.
While it is unlikely that history will repeat itself, newly-unveiled Queensland Reds supremo Les Kiss could be seen as an option by Rugby Australia.
A former rugby league international, Kiss has previous test experience as an assistant coach to both South Africa and Ireland. He also worked solidly in key roles over the past eight years with Ulster and London Irish.
Even though it is expected that he will honour his contract with Queensland (who are his home town club), he is still being considered by best betting sites for rugby union at 20/1.
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