SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Scott Wisemantel, who was England’s attack coach at the Rugby World Cup, has decided to move on after his contract expired and looks set to join Dave Rennie’s staff at the Wallabies.
England coach Eddie Jones, who brought Wisemantel into his set-up for last year’s tour of South Africa before extending his deal to cover the World Cup, confirmed the 49-year-old former rugby league player was leaving.
“Scott’s contract finished at the end of the World Cup and we had some discussions but he has decided to move on,” the Australian told Britain’s Daily Mail.
“Whatever role he takes on next, I know he will do an outstanding job because he was fantastic for us. We will miss him but we wish him all the best, and his family.”
The news will only increase speculation that Wisemantel is moving back home to work under New Zealander Rennie, who said on his appointment last week that he wanted his coaching team to have a “really strong Australian flavour”.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday that Wisemantel had agreed to replace Shaun Berne, who was appointed by Michael Cheika earlier this year and worked with the Wallabies backs on their run to the World Cup quarter-finals.
England were impressive in beating defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals in Japan but came up short in the final against South Africa.
Wisemantel, who was Australia’s skills coach under Jones in 2003 and again in 2007 under John Connolly, has also been on staff with the Samoa and Japan national teams during a peripatetic coaching career.
Jones, who is contracted to England until the middle of 2021, is also on the lookout for a new scrum coach before the Six Nations after Neal Hatley returned to the Bath club.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)