Former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has made his first public address since being sacked by Rugby Australia.
Having been slated to lead Australia into the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, the New Zealander was let go in favour of Eddie Jones on Monday.
In a statement issued by the governing body on Rennie’s behalf, the coach expressed his disappointment at ending his time with the team prematurely.
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“Firstly, I’d like to thank all of those who have reached out to (wife) Steph and I over the past 48 hours or so,” said Rennie.
“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.
“I’ve loved my time with the team. They’re outstanding young men who are keen to learn and prepared to work hard.
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“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.
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“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, the 16th coach in Wallabies history and only the second New Zealander after Robbie Deans, had the worst record of any Australian coach in the 21st century.
The Wallabies won just 12 and drew three of the 33 matches under Rennie.
His 36 percent win percentage bettered just one of his predecessors, Des Connor, who led the Wallabies from 1968–1971 to two wins from 12 matches.
With Rennie contracted through to the end of 2023, it is expected he will see out a period of gardening leave.
Jones, meanwhile, will have just five Test matches to get his Wallabies up to speed ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The team does have a favourable draw, with its toughest assignment in the group stages being a clash with Wales.
Three of the last four encounters have been won by the Welsh.
Australia’s pool also includes Fiji, Georgia, and Rugby World Cup returnees Portugal who last contested the tournament in 2007.
Jones is contracted to coach the Wallabies on a five-year deal through to 2027.
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