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Friday, February 03, 2006


International Teams: No-nonsense Knuckles lays down the laws

New Australia coach John Connolly warned that just about all the places in the Wallaby squad is up for grabs. He will build his team around an exciting backline and forward power and will cut back on the pampering of the side.

Speaking to Peter Jenkins of Fox Sports Connolly (54) - nicknamed 'Knuckles' for his no-nonsense approach - wasted no time in sending a message to established stars that their comfortable and cocooned existence was officially at an end.

Connolly said the Wallabies had the players to win the Webb Ellis trophy, but he also suggested the players involved might not be current test regulars.

"You could have a long discussion on every position bar maybe one or two," he said. "Outside of that it's very open. You don't come off losing eight out of nine thinking everything's hunky dory."

Wallabies must get back into the public

While Connolly refused to name the pair - Lote Tuqiri and George Smith are likely contenders - he did not hide his desire to cut back the pampering of the team. A luxury resort at Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast has long been their training base, and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is under contract to use the facility until the Rugby World Cup.

Connolly, however, intends to cut back time in the five-star surroundings and is keen to get the team into the city of Test matches a lot earlier.

"We definitely want to get back out into the public. No other team in Australia is embraced more than the Wallabies. It's incredibly important players realise that."

Forward power must be developed

Off-field misbehaviour will also be targeted by a regime that will see three assistants - Scott Johnson (offence), Michael Foley (scrums, lineouts, restarts) and John Muggleton (defence) - form a four-pronged coaching front.

"Players representing Australia have a huge responsibility," Connolly said. "It's not a God-given right. They're lucky that when God handed out talent they weren't behind a tree, but they have to uphold the traditions of the great Wallabies who go before them. It's non-negotiable."

The Connolly approach will be simple. An exciting backline will be used. But forward power needs to be developed if the Wallabies are to flourish.

"You need dominance in the scrum and lineout and power at the breakdown," he said. "We saw the problems England caused Australia at Twickenham last year. We saw how dominant the French were when they picked up that Australian maul and threw it across the sideline."
AAAGgggggg Shame  
Ja, shame on you if you do all the trouble and don't add an intelligent remark, Boet.  
Dunno where he's going to find forward power.

The Aussies are preserntly the WP of international rugby

All stars from 6 to 15 and nothing at 1 - 5!

Kay, in contrast to WP, no stars at 1-3

Dan Vickerman is class.
Well, maybe they get a bit stronger if he puts an end to the 'pampering'.
At least a new coach removes the
'comfort zones' of the incumbents.
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