Wednesday, February 01, 2006
International Teams: Wallabies enter new Big Brother era today
The Wallabies' worst kept secret will be made official today when they announce the head coach to take over from Eddie Jones. But there will be more to it than just a change of coaches.
John Connolly, formerly the coach of Queensland, will today be appointed as the coach to get the Wallabies back on the road after a disastrous 2005, in which they lost eight of their nine matches - their worst ever period.
Jim Tucker of FoxSports reports that the Australian Rugby Union has held fire on any announcement until this week so deals could be closed with former Wallabies hooker Michael Foley (forwards) and Scott Johnson (backs) to be his assistants.
Tucker also expects various intriguing fine prints accompanying the appointment, like there will be no repeat of the head coach keeping the ARU's high-performance unit at arm's lenght like Jones did.
Other envisaged changes include:
THE coach being more accountable in the off-field handling of personnel so there is no repeat of the 2004 walkout of Jones's assistant coaches Andrew Blades and Roger Gould
MORE training camp time in the Test cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and fewer at last year's Coffs Harbour training base
USING Connolly's nous for a major upgrade of Australia's forward play.
As slick, as intense and as game specific as the Coffs Harbour camps were during the Jones era, it allowed him to operate too much in isolation.
The big brother gaze of the ARU will be far more evident in the Connolly regime, which faces a sprint over less than 18 months to the Rugby World Cup in France.
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