Rennie sacked, Jones new Wallabies coach

Eddie Jones' return as Wallabies coach at the expense of Dave Rennie has created a potential World Cup final grudge match between Australia and England.

DAVE RENNIE. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Eddie Jones' shock Wallabies return has the coach on a World Cup quarter-final collision course with his former side England, or old sparring partner Michael Cheika's Argentina.

Either match-up would be one Jones and Rugby Australia relish, with chairman Hamish McLennan declaring Australia can win the tournament in France from September after confirming Dave Rennie's immediate departure on Monday.

Jones will return to the post he lost 18 years ago, on a five-year deal to lead the world's No.6 side.

The long-term contract would keep him at the helm for the British and Irish Lions' tour in 2025 and the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

"It is going to be an immense period for Australian rugby," Jones said.

"The Wallabies squad is a really talented group of players with good depth.

"If we can have everyone fit and healthy going into the World Cup this year, I am confident that we can go to France and break the 24-year drought of winning the Rugby World Cup."

RA's decisive move against Rennie comes after mounting injuries, consistently poor discipline and selection head-scratchers marred the New Zealander's three-year tenure that yielded a 38 per cent win rate - the worst of any Wallabies' coach with a tenure of at least 30 Tests.

Sydney product Jones was sensationally sacked by England in December despite recording the best winning ratio of a coach of that country of 73 per cent, in a stay that included back-to-back series wins in Australia.

McLennan told AAP Jones' dismissal had changed RA's thinking, fast-tracking to now a previously-mooted potential return in 2024, when Rennie's contract had been due to expire.

The 62-year-old Jones will arrive from England to begin on January 29.

Placing in doubt the future of former Brumbies mentor Dan McKellar - a man widely viewed as the Wallabies coach-in-waiting - Jones is set to be given latitude to select his own assistants.

"There's a lot riding on this World Cup; we could do very well if we get it right," McLennan told AAP.

"We all believe we've got a real shot at winning this year.

"It's always open to conjecture, but at RA we're happy to make the tough calls.

"He intimately understands our pathways and grass roots and there's no doubt that rugby will be more talked about under his coaching."

The latter is certainly the case. A potential quarter-final berth against England would be a platform for a scorned Jones' revenge that goes back to 2003, when England beat his Wallabies in Sydney's World Cup final.

If not the old enemy, it could be a quarter-final with Argentina, whose coach Cheika had an 0-7 record against Jones' England when leading Australia.

The improving Japan - another team Jones has coached at a World Cup - also loom as a quarter-final possibility.

Jones will also take on the women's Wallaroos job in a "world-first" appointment for a side still yet to benefit from the professional status of their world champion rugby sevens equivalent.

Rennie oversaw a return to world No.3 for the Wallabies on the back of five straight wins, but in the 17 Tests that followed they were unable to notch consecutive victories and slumped as low as No.8.

He held a four-day camp with a 44-man squad last week and insisted Jones would play no part in Australia's World Cup campaign, comments that raised eyebrows at RA headquarters.

RA chief executive Andy Marinos credited Rennie for building the squad's depth after more than 20 injuries curtailed the side's progress last year.

"The work ethic, the spirit within the group, and the way the team carries itself are all a direct result of Dave's input," he said.

"He has made a real mark on this group of players."