Macqueen optimistic about Aussie form
April 4, 2000

Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen Tuesday offered a positive half-term assessment of Australia's three Super 12 rugby teams, despite New South Wales and Queensland languishing in the bottom half of the tournament.

With the ACT Brumbies third, NSW Waratahs seventh and Queensland ninth on the Super 12 table, Macqueen said he was confident two Australian teams could yet squeeze into the semi-finals.

The former ACT and NSW coach was pleased with the form of the Brumbies and was optimistic Waratahs coach Ian Kennedy and his assistant Tim Lane could spark a late season revival.

"Obviously the Waratahs are struggling at the moment. I think they are a team that can go well," Macqueen said.

"And I'm sure that 'Speed' (Kennedy) and Tim are going to be working very hard to see that that happens.

"I think ACT are obviously playing very good rugby, they have to be pretty happy at the moment, they way there are going.

"And Queensland have improved a lot over the last few games, so they look like they are going to be a force towards the end of the season."

Macqueen said the new rules put in place this year have increased the number of tries and reduced penalties in the Super 12 and Six Nations northern hemisphere tournament.

Macqueen said the jury was still out on the rule changes and he was reserving judgement but felt the early indicators were "very good".

"I think it's opened up the game a lot. Already we're seeing the game is getting a lot more rugby (playing) time, something like 40 minutes a game, which has been unheard of in the past," Macqueen said.

"We've got less penalties, less scrums, less resets and more tries, so
you've got to say we're all pretty happy."

Asked how the changes would affect the Wallabies, Macqueen said: "It helps our style a lot and looking at the Six Nations, they are playing a much more expansive game under these laws."

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