Rugby

‘I’m disappointed’: Sacked Wallabies coach Dave Rennie breaks his silence

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Sacked Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has broken his silence, thanking Australia for their support and wishing his former side well at the Rugby World Cup.

Rennie also gave his well-wishes to Eddie Jones for a successful World Cup, with the Australian returning to almost 18 years after being sacked by then-Australian Rugby Union CEO Gary Flowers.

The former Chiefs coach, who won Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, was sacked on Monday morning by the Rugby Australia board after three years in charge of the Wallabies.

Rennie finished with a win record of 38 per cent, but rarely did he ever have his best team on the park in large part because of suspension.

‘I’m disappointed’: Sacked Wallabies coach Dave Rennie breaks his silence

Dave Rennie has broken his silence, revealing he had been sent over 500 messages of support. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images

He also took charge during a tumultuous period in Australian rugby, which included a fresh administration, Michael Cheika’s fractured relationship with former CEO Raelene Castle, Israel Folau’s sacking and the culling of the Western Force.

The outbreak of COVID-19 was yet another curveball to throw at a first-year Test coach.

Ultimately, however, Rugby Australia’s thinking changed when Eddie Jones, who was being lined up to take over in 2024, was sacked in late December by the Rugby Football Union after two difficult years in charge of England.

It led to Rennie being brutally shown the door on Monday, with Jones – the experienced World Cup operator, who has coached at four World Cups – to take over the Wallabies and the overseeing of the Wallaroos.

Rennie was delivered the news at 6am on Monday morning.

Dave Rennie said he could leave Australian rugby knowing he had the support of the playing group and staff. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Until now, the New Zealander had maintained his silence.

In a typically humble manner, Rennie thanked the rugby community for the support and his family had received since his axing, revealing he had had more than 500 messages.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those who have reached out to Steph and I over the past 48 hours or so,” Rennie said in a statement.

“The support has been immense and much appreciated from the more than 500 messages I’ve received from current and former players, coaches, administrators and friends both here and abroad.”

Rennie pointedly said he left knowing he had the support of the playing group and the staff, as well as acknowledging the wider Australian community for embracing him, before wishing Jones well.

“I’ve loved my time with the team. They’re outstanding young men who are keen to learn and prepared to work hard,” Rennie said.

“The staff I worked with during my time with the Wallabies are some of the best in the world and they played a massive role in creating a quality environment and developing the depth of the playing group.

“I’d like to particularly thank those in the Australian Rugby community for their support of the team over the past three years and for all the words of encouragement when we have crossed paths in schools, on the training field or in airports around the country.

“I’m disappointed I won’t be able to see out my contract in the way I agreed to back in 2019 but leave knowing I had the full support of the playing group and the staff.

“I certainly felt we have made massive shifts over the past three years both on and off the field, which is off the back of a hell of a lot of hard work put in by good people.

“I wish Eddie, the staff and the team all the best in what’s a massive year, with the Rugby World Cup less than nine months away.”

Rennie will be paid out by Rugby Australia and placed on “gardening leave”, meaning he can’t coach elsewhere in 2023.

He has, however, been strongly linked to taking a job in the League One competition in Japan.

Jones will officially start with RA on January 29.

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