Wallabies plot international revival
September 22, 2009
Robbie Deans' Wallabies notched just one victory in this year's Tri-Nations. © Getty Images
Australia's leading coaches have joined forces in a bid to boost the fortunes of the national side.
Wallabies boss Robbie Deans, Brumbies coach Andy Friend, Force coach John Mitchell and Waratahs coach Chris Hickey were all in attendance at a Unity of Purpose conference in Sydney organised by the Australian Rugby Union. The Reds have not yet appointed a replacement for sacked coach Phil Mooney and were represented by physio Geoff Clark.
The meeting took place in the wake of the Wallabies' latest Tri-Nations reverse - a 33-6 defeat at the hands of New Zealand - that condemned them to the southern hemisphere wooden spoon. Pressure is on Deans and is young squad, who notched just one victory in this year's Tri-Nations, to conjure a turnaround in their fortunes on their end of year tour that begins with another clash with the All Blacks in Tokyo on October 31.
Deans and his fellow coaches discussed increased co-operation between the Super 14 sides and the Wallabies, as well as the direction of the game in the country.
"It's a great opportunity to gather as a meeting of minds and discuss our common challenges, our common opportunities and just looking to do what we do better," Deans told the Daily Telegraph. "We are here to discuss, essentially, how can we help the franchises and conversely how can they help us."
Deans also stressed the need to protect the status of the game in the face of stiff competition from rugby league, football and Aussie Rules. "It's about us maximising what we do as a code in Australia," he added.
Friend revealed it was very much a two-way conversation, "As a collective group we have been in there sharing thoughts and concerns and fears," he said. "I think the direction of the game is a big one: Where is the game going? Also, protocols around how our players are managed, whether they are in the provincial side or whether they are in the Wallaby side is another important one."
ARU high performance unit boss David Nucifora added, "We have to do everything we can to make sure we are on the same page so that we get consistency from the player group," he said. "It is more about making sure there are good lines of communication, there are good management practices in place and those things need to be continually worked at. That is what we are trying to do in there."
The Wallabies head to Europe following their fourth Bledisloe Cup clash of the year in Japan and will take on England (November 7), Ireland (November 15), Scotland (November 21) and Wales (November 28).