‘Massive coup’: RA hails appointment of Rennie as new Wallabies coach

Dave Rennie is the new Wallabies coach, taking over from Michael Cheika.

Rugby Australia announced the appointment of the New Zealander on a three-and-a-half-year deal on Wednesday.

RA get their man: New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has been appointed after a six-month search.Credit:EPA

The contract will take Rennie through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

He will see out his current contract with the Glasgow Warriors and formally join the Australian set-up in July next year, when the Wallabies host Ireland, in a two-Test series, and Fiji.

Rennie, 55, won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs in 2012 and 2013.

"My wife, Steph, and I have spent the past few months considering our future and we’re really excited about our decision," he said in a statement.

"I’ve been coaching professionally for over 20 years and wherever I’ve gone, I’ve immersed myself in the community and culture. I believe I can make a difference here.

"There are some outstanding young men coming through the schools system. I want to create a strong connection with the Super Rugby and national age-grade coaches and help them achieve their goals, which will benefit the Wallabies in time.

"When I met [RA boss] Raelene Castle, I was really impressed with her plans for the future of Australian rugby and I’m keen to be part of that.

"We’ve loved our time here in Glasgow. The coaching group and management are absolutely world class. The work ethic and passion of the players has been incredible, and we will miss them."

He has long been the front-runner in the search for Cheika’s replacement, with a paucity of sufficiently experienced local candidates after Eddie Jones ruled himself out of the race earlier this year.

Under the new global calendar, the July incoming Tests will run straight into the 2020 Rugby Championship, where Australia will face World Cup winners South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina.

Director of rugby Scott Johnson, who knew Rennie from his previous role with the Scotland Rugby Union, will work with head of athletic performance Dean Benton to overhaul the Wallabies program over the next six months before Rennie joins the organisation in a formal capacity.

"This is a massive coup for Australian Rugby, Dave Rennie was the clear standout candidate for the job, and we’re thrilled to have secured his services," Castle said.

Club loyalty: Rennie will continue to coach Glasgow Warriors until the end of the season.Credit:Getty

"Dave’s coaching philosophy focuses equally on football and team culture, the key pillars to building sustainable success in any team. He has a proven track record in the northern
and southern hemisphere.

"Given incumbent head coach Michael Cheika had indicated in early 2019 the possibility that he would not seek re-appointment for the role, we needed to identify a list of candidates that would be available to us, and suitable to work within our new high-performance framework. This search has been ongoing for the past six months.

"When Michael then confirmed he would not seek re-appointment following our Rugby World Cup exit, we moved to appoint our preferred candidate.

"I have had extensive conversations with Dave, and he was interviewed by Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne and fellow board directors and former Wallabies, Brett Robinson and Phil Waugh, before being appointed to the role.

"It was important to Dave to see out his contract with Glasgow and he will commence with the Wallabies at the completion of the Pro 14 season. Between now and June, the Wallabies assistant coaches and director of rugby Scott Johnson will take the lead in working with the players under Dave’s guidance and direction.

"Dave and Scott worked closely together during their time in Scotland and will join forces once again to implement Rugby Australia’s national high-performance plan. With Dave as head coach, and Scott managing our off-field program, the Wallabies have the right structure in place to build for the next era of sustained success."

More to come

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