Rennie has coined RA to a degree, saying that he would need clarity on his future early next year so as not to miss the changing of the guard every four years between the top 15 Test nations. Rennie doesn’t have a political bone in his body. He was telling it as he saw it.
But talking about extension is impossible to justify at the end of a season with nine defeats in 13 Tests, as it is. If Australia lose to Wales next week, it will be their worst year on record since 1958, where 10 or more tests have been played.
Saturday’s 13-10 loss to Ireland was in line with France’s game, not Italy’s game, with the Wallabies pushing the best team in the world to the brink. It’s proof that the Wallabies have a game to challenge all the best teams, but they continue to struggle with execution.
Rennie won’t be sacked, barring a calamity against Wales, but bridging the gap between chance and execution will become the concern of the RA rugby committee. But the higher-ups remain outraged by Italy’s defeat and will want a scalp from somewhere, for what was perceived as a humiliation in Florence. Never mind the decision by chairman Hamish McLennan and chief executive Andy Marinos to secure two profitable Tests (Scotland, Wales) outside the three-week autumn international window.
Based on Rennie’s comments and the team’s track record to date, it is unlikely that he will coach Australia beyond 2023. Wallabies fans are hoping, then, that planning is well underway to select the next target.
It is underway elsewhere, as evidenced by Jones’ negotiations with the US, plus reports on Sunday that England are in talks with Robertsonwho has become the main rival of local candidate Steve Borthwick.
Many will be surprised by Robertson’s interest in England, given the public perception that he is the next logical choice to succeed Ian Foster with the All Blacks.
However, an intriguing report last week by the New Zealand Herald Gregory Paulhe maintained that New Zealand Rugby ‘kingmaker’ Joe Schmidt had refused to work with Robertson when he was presented as an alternative to Foster earlier in the year.
Jamie Joseph is emerging as an option, as is Foster himself, should the All Blacks win in France next year.
Twice already scorned by his local union, then Robertson’s patience may be wearing thin. If the RFU opt for Borthwick instead of the championship-winning Crusaders manager, could it be Australia’s turn to attack? It would go back to 2007, when RA took on then New Zealand manager Graham Henry’s unsuccessful challenger, Robbie Deans.
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