New Zealander Dave Rennie appointed Wallabies coach

Sydney (AFP) –


New Zealander Dave Rennie was tasked on Wednesday with resurrecting the Wallabies, replacing Michael Cheika as head coach in a deal that will take him through to the 2023 World Cup.

The 55-year-old, only the second non-Australian to lead the team, will fulfil his commitments to Scottish side Glasgow Warriors, where he is currently coach, before assuming his new role in July next year.

The Wallabies are due to play Ireland in Brisbane on July 4, giving Rennie little time to stamp his mark on the Michael Hooper-led side before their home season gets under way.

That first series will be an important one to restore faith in the team after their dismal World Cup quarter-final exit to England in Japan, where their tactics were widely criticised.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said Rennie had always been their favoured choice to replace Cheika, who fell on his sword after the World Cup and a series of poor results leading into it.

"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," she said.

"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."

Rennie, who follows Robbie Deans as the only other foreigner to coach the Wallabies, had reportedly been sounded out by New Zealand Rugby about applying for the All Blacks job.

But All Blacks assistant Ian Foster and three-time Super Rugby-winning Crusaders coach Scott Robertson appear to be the front-runners for that position, left vacant by Steve Hansen's departure.

"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," said Rennie of Australia.

"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 Raelene Castle, I was really impressed with her plans for the future of Australian rugby and I'm keen to be part of that," he added.

Rennie joined New Zealand Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs as coach in 2012 and led them to back-to-back southern hemisphere titles in his first two years in charge.

The Hamilton-based team played finals in each of the six seasons he spent with them, a mark unmatched by any head coach in the competition's history.

He was appointed coach of Glasgow Warriors for the 2017/18 season and in his second year took them to the Pro-14 final and the last eight of the European Champions Cup, the first time the Warriors have made the playoffs in both competitions.