Sydney: Under-pressure Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has resigned less than a year in the job after their dismal showing at the World Cup, multiple Australian news outlets said Sunday.
The Australian newspaper said Jones amicably agreed to terms for his departure with Rugby Australia powerbrokers Phil Waugh and Hamish McLennan over the weekend.
National broadcaster ABC and the Sydney Morning Herald also said he had quit.
Rugby Australia told AFP it had no comment.
Speculation has been rife that the 63-year-old would walk away after just two wins from nine Tests since taking over in January and a worst-ever World Cup performance, where Australia failed to make it out of the pool phase.
“I haven’t got any job offer,” the pugnacious Jones, who is in Britain to co-coach the Barbarians against Wales, told The Australian in an interview.
“I’ve been living apart from my wife because she lives in Japan. I want to spend a bit of time with her. I want to stay married. I think at 63 I don’t want to get divorced.
“And then come December, I’ll start to have a look and see what I’d like to coach another international team, I’d like to coach one more team. One more cycle.”
Asked by ABC if he had quit, Jones said it was “not far away”, with the paperwork surrounding his release set to be signed imminently.
Jones reportedly had exit clauses in his contract related to the governing body securing private equity investment and moving to a centralised governance system with its state unions to grow the game.
Neither has yet happened.
Despite being fired by England after their worst annual return in 14 years, winning just five of 12 Tests in 2022, Jones was hailed as the saviour of Australian rugby when he returned to the national set-up in place of the axed Dave Rennie.
Fresh from inking a lucrative contract through to the 2027 World Cup in Australia, he predicted the Wallabies could win the trophy in France this year through a special “smash and grab” raid on rugby’s greatest prize.
But instead, a side stacked with rookies flopped, losing to Fiji for the first time in 69 years and suffering their heaviest World Cup defeat, a 40-6 loss to Wales.
Jones faced stinging criticism for his youth selection policy, omitting several veterans from the squad, including long-time skipper Michael Hooper and playmaker Quade Cooper.
He has been linked with the head coach role of Japan, but has repeatedly denied this.
Jones has warm relationships with key powerbrokers at the top of Japanese rugby, having previously coached the Brave Blossoms between 2012 and 2015.
He told The Australian he was upset by his portrayal in sections of the media as not being committed to Australian rugby.
“The only thing I’m disappointed about is the media was trying to portray me as not being committed to Australian rugby,” he said.
“The last thing anyone could criticise me about is commitment. Anyone that really knows me, knows I’ve been committed to it. I’ve given it a go.”
A tenacious hooker at his beloved Sydney club Randwick, Jones never made the Wallaby side.
But he came into his element as a coach, becoming one of the most respected the sport has seen, leading the Wallabies to a World Cup final in 2003 in his first stint in charge, and England to the decider of the 2019 global showpiece.