Australia's World Cup-winning rugby coach Bob Dwyer suffered a heart attack and is recovering in a Sydney hospital after surgery.

The 72-year-old complained of chest pains late on Wednesday and was admitted to the Hospital, AAP said.

Dwyer had two spells in charge of the Wallabies in the 1980s and led them to their first World Cup victory after beating hosts England in the final of the 1991 tournament at Twickenham.

After stepping down in 1995, he coached English club sides Bristol and Leicester before returning home to Australia for a three-year spell with the New South Wales Waratahs in 2001.

"I'm doing well. I feel fine," Dwyer told Fairfax Media. "I was on a monitor and had the doctor with me and (then) I had the arrest.

"They gave me the electrical charge straight away and I came straight back.

"Talk about being at the right place at the right time. If it had have happened at home, I would be dead."