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Thread: Players happy for Connolly to stay

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    Players happy for Connolly to stay

    Players happy for Connolly to stay

    Wayne Smith, Montpellier | September 24, 2007

    PLAYERS Association boss Tony Dempsey claims he has never known the Wallabies to be a happier, more united team and believes the Australian Rugby Union should rethink its plans to retire head coach John Connolly after the World Cup.

    Dempsey said yesterday that not only was he receiving no complaints from the players during the World Cup in France but the feedback was uniformly positive and upbeat.

    "This is as happy an Australian team as I have seen during my 12 years in the job," Dempsey said. "I'm not saying there haven't been teams in the past that haven't functioned as well ... the 1999 team that won the World Cup springs to mind.

    "But all the feedback I'm getting is that the mixture of youth and experience is working well and that the earlier newspaper talk about the coaching staff being dysfunctional has been proven incorrect.

    "The players are enjoying the experience and they subtly know they're in the hunt, without being too overt about it."

    All of which has Dempsey asking why the ARU appears to be so determined to move Connolly on immediately after the World Cup. Connolly announced in his newspaper column last week that he was ready to stand down and move into virtual retirement. But insiders believe that was simply because he could see the writing on the wall and didn't want to engage in a political campaign to extend his term as Wallabies coach. (Gee, I thought it was because that was what he said when he was appointed and has maintained throughout his tenure???)

    Dempsey, however, believes the ARU would be foolish not to keep its options open.

    "If Connolly was to win the World Cup, a very compelling argument could be made for him staying on," said the RUPA boss.

    "How could they sack him after that? At the end of the day, history will show that he got the Wallabies ready in a very short space of time.

    "A lot of people, including me, questioned all the chopping and changing he was doing in the side, leaving it until the last Tri-Nations before he finally started to settle on his side. He found out in a short period who he needed.

    "He's what I call a great picker of horse flesh. He knows which players have what it takes to succeed at the highest levels and which ones don't."

    But if Connolly were to go, Dempsey is mystified why the ARU seems so intent on the idea of recruiting former assistant All Blacks coach and long-time Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans.

    "Yes, it's good to try to get the best man for the job (end the sentence there...) but the ARU also needs to be aware of what signals it is sending to young Australian coaches," he said.

    "They're trying to progress down this very indistinct job pathway in this country, where there are very limited employment opportunities for promising young coaches, and all of a sudden the ARU is talking of installing a foreigner in the top position in the country.

    "We don't want our best and brightest young coaches heading overseas because the pathway is blocked here in Australia."

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    it's not that the ARU was going to sack him, i thought that knuckles has said in the past that he won't be applying/RE-applying for the job as wallabies coach??

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    i think he should

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Before he even started the job he said it would end at the end of RWC 2007 regardless of results

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    not that i'm saying he shouldnt, obviously if he wins the world cup surely the ARU should look at possibly giving him another contract if he wants it. If he doesnt want to stay on theres no point

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    yeah. if hes hearts not in it then there would be no point in having him at the helm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith


    "But all the feedback I'm getting is that the mixture of youth and experience is working well and that the earlier newspaper talk about the coaching staff being dysfunctional has been proven incorrect.
    Maybe that sauce had gone off, or gone past its use by date.

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