Eddie Jones at the Rugby World Cup.
Eddie Jones (centre) oversaw a shambolic Rugby World Cup campaign from the Wallabies. Image by Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby union

Wallabies’ Cup review complete as Schmidt era begins

January 20, 2024

New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt is yet to view the findings of a report into the side’s World Cup failings that was submitted on the day he was ushered into the role.

Former Wallabies Andrew Slack and Justin Harrison, as well as high-performance and coaching consultant Darlene Harrison were charged with leading an external review into the side’s early exit from last year’s tournament in France.

That review, announced on November 2, hit Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Phil Waugh’s desk on Friday just hours before he sat next to Schmidt to officially announce him as Eddie Jones’s replacement.

RA's Phil Waugh (l), coach Joe Schmidt (c) and chairman Peter Horne.
 New coach Joe Schmidt (c) has yet to see the Wallabies’ World Cup review, RA’s Phil Waugh (l) says. Image by Max Mason-Hubers/AAP PHOTOS 

“The review has been finalised and the board were briefed on the review findings,” Waugh told AAP on Friday.

“We’re just working through that now with the executive team and with the board and then we’ll work through how we publish the findings and go from there.

“It’s very fresh on our desk so we’re just going through it and ensuring that the appropriate disclosures are made.

“When you do a review, you want to ensure there’s absolute confidence from those that are giving you information, so you’ve just got to make sure that information is appropriate.”

Waugh said Schmidt had not yet seen the report.

The New Zealander and former Ireland mentor has signed a deal up to and including the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

Coach Jones’ exit was part of RA’s administrative overhaul following the France flop, with Dan Herbert replacing Hamish McLennan as chairman and Peter Horne joining the organisation as high-performance boss.

Former Wallaby David Nucifora, who as high-performance chief alongside Schmidt turned Ireland into a world-leading force, has also been lured back into the fold.

How their vision sits alongside the review’s findings remains to be seen, with Schmidt set to visit Super Rugby clubs and familiarise himself with players ahead of Wales’s visit in July.

“I can’t promise anything other than I’ll be working really hard to try to make it as successful as it can be and try to get some early wins on the board,” Schmidt said.

“And those wins may be just that we perform better, even if we don’t quite get the outcomes we’re looking for.

“But I’m also a realistic coach. You’re judged on your outcomes and you live or die by them.”