Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has declared he won’t walk away despite his role in the Eddie Jones disaster because the sport is “broken” and he needs to fix it.
McLennan arrived back in Australia from the World Cup in France with the Wallabies searching for a new coach after Jones quit one year in to a five-year deal following the least successful campaign in Australian history.
Amid calls for McLennan, who was the key man in sacking Dave Rennie to appoint Jones, to resign, the chairman said he was not a quitter and vowed to fixed the “burning mess” he believes he inherited from the previous administration after taking over in 2020.
“I love the sport and I’m not a quitter,” McLennan told Nine newspapers.
“In my business career I’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve gone through incredible hardship and I want to teach my kids and my family people don’t give up. I’m really passionate about solving it for rugby.
“I think we’re better than we were three years ago, even though the World Cup performance was terrible. We inherited a bit of a burning mess.
“I think there’s a lot of interest in rugby; we’ll get through this. It’s interesting, everyone’s talking about rugby, so a lot of a lot of the sceptics say the code’s dead, and it’s not. We’ve got a World Cup coming up in 2027. Now we’ve got the (British and Irish) Lions in 2025, so we’ll bat on and we’ll solve it.”
McLennan said there was little point on reflecting whether the decision to appoint Jones was the right call.
“I think that’s almost irrelevant now because the system’s broken, and we need to fix it,” he said of Jones, whose resignation he accepted on Tuesday after a disastrous World Cup campaign in France.
McLennan said the next coach should be an Australian and there was “no shortage” of quality candidates.
“I think Australian coaches tend to have a more intimate knowledge of grassroots (rugby),” McLennan said.
“I can tell you, there’s no shortage of high-quality coaches that want to come and coach the Wallabies.
“I don’t think you can put your bets on anyone at the moment. There’ll be some overseas coaches, there’ll be local ones and there will be ones that have been part of the system. We’ve got a completely open mind.”
Amid continued speculation Jones quit to pursue the coaching job in Japan, McLennan said he didn’t speak to any of his Japanese counterparts about the reports, backing the former coach’s assertions that he had no job to go to.
“I didn’t (speak to Japanese officials) and didn’t particularly want to go there,” McLennan said.
“Eddie’s denied it. Eddie even said to me on the weekend that he’s got no job to go to. I think in the fullness of time, we’ll find out what went on.”
Source website: www.foxsports.com.au