'Everyone's a candidate': RA would consider Foster for Wallabies

Rugby Australia is prepared to canvas a variety of options as they search for a new Wallabies coach, with chief executive Phil Waugh indicating the governing body would happily speak with outgoing All Blacks boss Ian Foster.

Waugh fronted the media for the first time since Eddie Jones' resignation on Sunday, citing the need to work through the "deed of release" in Jones' contract as the reason why the governing body had been silent for 36 hours before it eventually confirmed the coach's exit.

Waugh insisted that RA had come out in a beneficial financial position despite Jones' departure coming only 10 months into a five-year contract, and thanked the 63-year-old for his understanding as the two parties found some middle ground to sever ties. But Waugh did not agree with Jones' synopsis of RA's pursuit of centralisation, saying he was confident "alignment" between head office and the state unions would be achieved in varying degrees in the not-too-distant future.

As for whom could replace Jones, Waugh said RA would not be rushed into a solution and pointed to the fact that the Wallabies' next Test was more than eight months away as evidence the board could take its time in naming a successor.

"It's all very raw, we want to make sure that we get the right panel together, and once we get that panel together and then run a process; our next Test is not until July next year, so we have time," Waugh said.

"The most important aspect now is reconnecting with the Australian public and the community and then making sure that we land on the right coach."

Pushed on how long that "process" could take, Waugh added: "I think the most important aspect is getting the right coach and so however long that takes. That may be quick, that may take some time, but the most important element is getting the right coach.

"I think historically we have made decisions quickly and the most important aspect is to make the right decision."

The highest profile available candidate would be outgoing All Blacks coach Foster, who went within one missed penalty goal of securing the New Zealand a fourth Rugby World Cup triumph over the weekend.

Speaking in the days after his team had been beaten 12-11 by the Springboks in Paris, Foster said he wasn't sure whether he could coach against the All Blacks, but indicated he could be open to a new role in some capacity in the future.

"I don't know. You guys know me. I don't tell people everything that I am doing, or thinking or talking about because I don't think it's right for the market.

"I will figure things out. There might be nothing. The inbox might be empty on Wednesday or Thursday."

That may well prove to be the same Japanese path his predecessor and confidante Steve Hansen followed, while any New Zealander would be wary of how ruthlessly Dave Rennie was treated by RA in making way for Jones at the start of 2023.

Still, Waugh indicated RA would be happy to speak with Foster should he show interest in making what would be a sensational switch across the Tasman.

"I think everyone's a candidate," Waugh said. "Obviously Fozzy had a great campaign this year and probably a pretty close [World Cup] final that could have gone either way.

"We're open to getting to getting the best coach for our system and for our team."

While the chances of Foster crossing the Tasman would appear slim, it is believed that RA has former Brumbies coach Dan McKellar at the top of its list to succeed Jones.

Meanwhile, Waugh also rubbished Jones' claims that former Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and veteran playmaker Quade Cooper were "not the right role models" for the World Cup.

Jones last Friday told the Sydney Morning Herald that the duo and fellow veteran Bernard Foley were no longer "obsessed with winning" and therefore were not required for the team's ill-fated campaign in France.

"Across Michael Hooper, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, there's 280 to 300 Test matches between those three," Waugh said.

"They've all put their body on the line over a long period of time and are role models to not just their peers, but [for] young boys and girls coming through the system. So I think it's an absolutely unfair comment towards those players given what they've contributed to rugby."