Jones cites lack of 'project unity' as RA confirms coach's exit

Rugby Australia has finally confirmed Eddie Jones' departure as Wallabies coach, roughly 36 hours since the 63-year-old first revealed the news himself.

RA issued a media release on Tuesday morning, confirming Jones would officially finish up in late November, meaning his second coming as Australia coach will have lasted a touch over 10 months despite the fact he originally inked a five-year deal.

"Rugby Australia can confirm that it has accepted the resignation of Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones, and he will depart the position on 25 November 2023," the statement read.

"Rugby Australia thanks Eddie for his commitment to the Wallabies in 2023, and wishes him the best in his future endeavours.

"Announcements regarding the future of the Wallabies coaching staff will be made in due course."

RA's statement came after Jones attempted to explain the reasons behind his decision to walk away from the role he had long wanted a second crack at following his sacking in 2005, saying RA had not been able to meet a set of agreed changes pertaining to investment into the game and its structure in Australia.

"I did want to go on but coaching a team is a bit like being in a marriage, you need commitment from both sides," Jones told Channel 9.

"I was committed to change the team but Rugby Australia at the moment can't activate the resources which are both financial and political to get the change in place to make real change for Australian rugby.

"I don't like to be in projects I don't think that can really get to where they need to get to. And I've made that decision, I don't think that's the case. Rugby Australia probably doesn't think that and that's where the unity of our project is not in a place it needs to be.

"Sometimes you go into the bank and you blow it up mate and you don't come out of the money. And that's part of the deal as we said at the start we're going to do a smash and grab. So we got the smash, we didn't get the grab."

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, RA boss Phil Waugh disputed Jones' claims that the game was not heading in the right direction, saying progress had already been made on both centralisation and investment, despite private equity not eventuating following recent negotiations with various parties.

"Eddie's made comments around centralization and the speed of centralization side of thing, I think that we are absolutely on the right path of high performance alignment, that means different things to different Super Rugby clubs depending on where they are in their maturity," Waugh told reporters in a lengthy press conference. "And in terms of the finances, I think we've been running a really good process to get to where we're at. I think for the game, on the back of the performances, where Eddie has viewed the process and speed of centralization and the finances available to him, that as a game, as an organization, I think we've ended up in a really sensible position.

"And it's really important, if you think about not just the high performance elements, but also community funding pathways, I've got to be fiscally responsible as to how we spend our money. And certainly running high cost programs in an environment when we're financially challenged, we've got to be really sensible.

Jones will this week coach the Barbarians against Wales in Cardiff - where he will come face to face with Michael Hooper, whom along with Quade Cooper he described as "not the right role models" for the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup campaign - before he then heads to Japan to spend time with his wife.

He does however continue to deny that he is engaged in talks to take over as Japan coach, saying there is no truth to allegations he held a Zoom interview with the Japanese Rugby Football Union and that he has another lined up in November, despite multiple reports to the contrary.

"I've come in and I've done the job I was asked to do. I haven't produced the results I was asked to get, I understand that," he said.

"I was 100% committed. The only thing that's disappointed me is the media trying to create a situation where they're trying to make it out like I haven't been committed to the job.

"I've got no job to go to, I've got no job offer, that's never been the case. You can run whatever story you want, but my commitment to Australian rugby has been absolutely 100%.

"The only thing I judge myself on is the commitment I've given the job. We haven't had the results we wanted to have ... but I went into the job knowing that I had to make change. I've made some of those changes, but the changes that I would dearly like to make are not available to me at the moment, so it's no use me continuing."

Waugh also rejected Jones' parting shot that RA was effectively on the "road to nowhere."

"I was disappointed in those comments, I think that we've clearly achieved a lot in terms of the vision of going forward," Waugh said.

"The performances, as I've said, have not been good enough for long enough; I know that we focus, certainly in Australia, on the Rugby World Cup cycles, but I'm far more interested in winning between Rugby World Cups than actually winning Rugby World Cups. Because you look at the Irish, the Irish have never got past the quarterfinals of a World Cup, however they win in between, they win provincial rugby and they've got a really healthy system. For us, we need to be winning between World Cups and not rely purely on World Cup success.

"So I think that it's actually a reset right across the high-peformance elements of the game and we announced that before the World Cup, we understood where we're at, and I do think we are making really good progress with our Super Rugby clubs. In terms of having no direction, I would strongly dispute that, because I do think we've got a very strong direction and a very strong vision."