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Thread: And the new Wallaby Coach is.....

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    And the new Wallaby Coach is.....


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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Really?!?!?!!!! That was unexpected!! Those ARU guys are really mixing it up these days eh?

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    Now for the assistants. That should happen quickly. They have called a press conference for May 12th!!!

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    If his tenure at Bath was anything to go by he will turn the pack into a force and starve the backs of ball and supporters of tries...but one hell of a nice guy. Good luck to him. Rumour has it that he is looking to bring Michael Foley back home from Bath also, they were a solid dependable (if not very adventurous) team.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    I guess I really ought to be saying a big Congratulations to him, it's not his fault the ARU have been playing silly buggers!

    Onya John! Here's hoping you can pull a team together for RWC2007!

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    Despite the process taking so long I feel that the ARU has come to the right decision for the period they have given him, that is, on the road to and including France '06.
    He has a great knowledge of not only the Australian system but obviously the local nuances of playing in European conditions.
    Post World Cup is a different matter and as I have mentioned elsewhere I feel there is a good argument to then move to the Australia/New Zealand experienced Nucifora leading to New Zealand '11.
    The generational change will have occurred from the Brumbies post France and, in theory, a well drilled Wallabies will be ready to be fine tuned for a full assault on the Southern Hemisphere.
    I would have liked to see at the press conference a line in the sand type statement by Connelly along the lines of: "I am taking over this role with a blank page with the ultimate aim to win the World Cup. All players are on notice that they are to prove themselves if they wish to have the honour of representing their country over the next two seasons. I will be starting with a Possibles v Probables match early in the first Camp Wallaby to try some different combinations but from there after you the public will know that the best 22 players are on the park."
    Bit of a wank I know and some of it was alluded to, but to actually come out and say it would leave no doubt that he means business. I am sure it is the kind of message that the four S14 squads will be hearing from him before next weekend when there are two Australian Derby's.
    Full respect for your first hand observations Flat-top however, I doubt he would fully neglect a fairly powerful back line squad. My hunch is that he will absolutely grill the forwards (all eight positions not just the front row) to get them to a standard to match their backs.
    Once there is a balance then I would think yes there will be a forward orientated game to feed the explosive backline with clean ball at the appropriate time. Many of his games are going to be against the other two SANZAR teams so he will have to counter their style as well as determine his own.
    The SH style is obviously quite different to that which either Bath or Stade Francais would have had to prepare for and it will be horses for courses at the International level.
    I have no problem watching a forward dominated match and that in itself doesn't equal a lack of tries on offer.
    I am quite excited about watching the results of this appointment over the next two years and the legacy he leaves beyond that.

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    Possibles and Probables is a brilliant idea Burgs, I believe the All blacks do it every year and it is an excellent game to watch.

    Im not convinced that John Connelly is the right choice, hopefully he will be allowed to put a very stiff broom through the Wallabies Players and retire some elderly players (Gregan, Larkham top of the list) a youthful squad is our only hope of making the Quarter Finals in France.

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    What? John Connolly's coaching?


    Very unexpected.

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    Yeah I watched last years NZ P v P on Fox, it was a cracker of a match from memory.
    I don't think he needs to "retire" anyone though tcie, I think the approach should just be everyone earns their spot on merit from a fresh start, it will have the same result but without the public debate.
    Or those players just might step up to the plate with the added knowledge they just may have played their last game already.
    Of course, if any of them realise that the bullet it is coming then they can feel free to fall on their sword first

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    From Rugby HEaven:

    The new Wallabies coach has a simple message for his players - raise your game on and off the field. Greg Growden speaks with John Connolly.

    Q A decade after the ARU shafted you, and then some years later Queensland showing you the door, can you seriously believe you are now Australian coach?

    A Life moves on. In 1995 I was very disappointed I didn't get the job. But I got over that. I understand the nature of rugby, and how political it is, and how results-driven it is. Then again, I was very lucky to get the Queensland job in 1989, ahead of Alex Evans. It works both ways, and I haven't got much to complain about because I've had a fantastic time in rugby, from when I started coaching in Darwin, 12 years with Queensland, and then France, Wales and England.

    Q Obviously what many people want to know is your thoughts on George Gregan. You are going to see him today (Friday).

    A We will have a chat. He is one of Australia's greatest ever players, and the current Wallabies captain. Regardless of who is the captain, the first point of call should be him. George, like everyone else in the Wallabies, has a lot of things to work on in the off-season. The team will be selected on form, come the end of the Super 14.

    Q But you have defended Gregan quite regularly in print, especially during the period when he was being heavily criticised. Obviously you are not as negative about him as quite a number of people are.

    A There's no doubt he does some things incredibly well. And there are a couple of areas where we think that he can improve on, like everyone else. I'll be mainly chatting to him about the way forward, and his ideas.

    Q When you were Queensland coach, you were often criticised for opting for 10-man rugby. Was that primarily because you had John Eales and Michael Lynagh, or was it a justified criticism?

    A The game has evolved. In 1989-90 we had a different game. And you do have to play to your strengths. There was no lifting in the lineouts, and Eales and Lynagh were big assets. But in that time with Queensland we still developed [Tim] Horan, [Jason] Little, [Daniel] Herbert, [Pat] Howard, Nathan Grey, Ben Tune, Damian Smith, Chris Latham and Elton Flatley. The list goes on. They all became huge influences in Australian rugby.

    Q Also when you were Queensland coach, you once barred the then Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer from attending one of your training sessions. Are you anticipating the same happening to you from one of the four Australian Super 14 coaches, particularly in Queensland?

    A I hope not. But if there's a problem in Brisbane, I'll take Bob with me to show me the ropes.

    Q During your official press conference, you said you believed the Wallabies can win the next World Cup. Are you serious?

    A Yes. I think we have to do a lot of things well. You can't deny the statistics which have come out about where we are at in the scrums, lineouts and breakdowns. We cannot ignore the fact that Australia is sitting fourth in the world rankings, and only half a point away from dropping to sixth. That's quite serious. There are some serious issues we have to address before we can move forward. And we have a lot of work to do. Also most positions in the Test team are very open. Everything is up for grabs, which is exciting.

    Q Is the most important issue improving the forward pack?

    A Improvement has to be made across the board. We do have to improve the forwards, but as importantly we have to make sure we are 100 per cent on board off the field. We cannot go into denial about off-field issues. These issues may have impacted on what has occurred on the field. Even if it is only a fraction of a per cent it is too much. So there are a lot of areas we have to look at which are important. But I am very positive that we can do that.

    Q Have you enough time?

    A I think so. What we can't do is start throwing excuses up. We know we only have 14 days between the last Super 14 match to the first Test, and that will be a huge challenge. But we have to simply cope with that. The Australian public expect us to do well, and we have to.

    Q Is it an advantage that you don't know most of the players, so there is no real baggage there?

    A Yes, probably, because you can go in with a clean sheet.

    Q You are keen on a Test selection panel. But don't you think the head coach should get the team he wants?

    A I think we will. By discussing the situation with the assistant coaches and the selectors, I think we'll come up with a similar answer.

    Q You were an Australian selector in the early 1990s. During that period, did the Australian coach ever get out-voted by the other two selectors?

    A Everything is confidential I'll tell you later.

    Q You have enjoyed a good relationship with Eddie Jones, who usually was in touch with you during overseas Wallabies tours. Have you talked to him, or will you talk to him, about this job?

    A Eddie rang me up the other day, and wished me all the best. I have no problem. I have no problems with Eddie, and I will be talking to him quite a bit over the next few days, especially when he joins Queensland.

    Q I would imagine that you would be a supporter of NSW's push to have initials on the jerseys, because for years you've always wanted to have JC in big letters across your back?

    A I've already got a jersey with that on. The Bath club gave it to me. I understand what Ewen McKenzie's attempting. You are always looking for an edge, and it is a 15-man game. We do need eight forwards who can run with the ball, and backs who can do a lot more.

    Q Finally, how did you get the nickname Knuckles?

    A I honestly don't know. It was one of those nicknames I ignored for a long time. For 20 years, I never answered to it. And then I just gave up because it would never go away.

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    John Connolly's Resume`

    Going on this resume` there would be few better credentialed coaches in the game at the moment!

    JOHN CONNOLLY

    Born: 26 June 1951, Brisbane.

    PLAYING CAREER

    * Played hooker with the Brothers club in Brisbane for more than a decade prior to 1980.

    COACHING CAREER

    * Bath (England) 2003-04 to 2005-06.

    * Swansea (Wales) 2002/03.

    * Stade Francais (France) 2000-01 to 2001-02.

    * Queensland (Super 12) 1996 to 2000.

    * Queensland 1989 to 1995.

    * Australian Selector 1991.

    * Brothers (Brisbane) 1983 to 1988.

    COACHING ACHIEVEMENTS

    * 2004-05 Powergen Cup finalists (Bath).

    * 2003-04 Zurich Premiership minor premiership (Bath).

    * 2003-04 Zurich Premiership coach of the year (Bath).

    * 2000-01 European Cup finalists (Stade Francais).

    * 1999-2000 European Cup finalists (Stade Francais).

    * 1999-2000 French Championship winners (Stade Francais).

    * 1999 Super 12 minor premiership (Queensland Reds).

    * 1999 Super 12 coach of the year.

    * 1998 Super 12 coach of the year.

    * 1996 Super 12 minor premiership (Queensland Reds).

    * 1994 Super 10 Championship (Queensland).

    * 1995 Super 10 Championship (Queensland).

    * 1992 Super 6 Championship (Queensland).

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    COMMENT by Greg Growden, Rugby Heaven

    NOT before John Connolly could any Wallabies coach boast a past that includes driving semi-trailers around the backblocks of Darwin, being a bouncer at Mount Isa pubs and standing, arms crossed, in front of Brisbane bloodhouses warding away troublemakers. No wonder he is known all over the rugby world as Knuckles.......

    For more: http://www.rugbyheaven.smh.com.au/ar...836372174.html

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    Player Contributor Flat-top's Avatar
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    Burgs you left one important fact of that list of credentials and that is that he really is a very very nice man. He has time for players and fans, JC2 as we called him (the previous Bath coach was John Callard) would always have a word for you if you were so inclined to show an interest.

    I think your comments in the earlier post are well thought out and I hope you didn't think my first posting was anything more than an observation. I don't think that the quality of the backline in Bath was anything to do with JC2's approach (full of internationals) but you make a good point about the type of oposition he will face.

    Good luck in any case, a successful Australian Team means another defeat for the English and I'm all for that.

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    Certainly didn't think any ill of your comments F-t, you have one over me, you've seen him in action!
    My opinion comes from two factors, 1 the backs are currently way in front of the forwards in skill (and on bigger dollars!) and he would be lynched if he didn't use them to some degree and 2, the style of play in the SH. The other interesting thing in rugby at the moment is that multi phase ball is not that good a thing with the average try coming from three phases of play in '05.
    To me that would indicate a couple of big hit ups by the heavy forwards and then quick cut-out passes to the Lote's and Mitchell's of the team with the odd change up of inside passes to a Latham or the like.
    Secure ball has been our big killer in the review they did, especially in the lineout. This will be a major focus being one of the opportunities in the modern game for your backs to have some room to move.
    I think he will also show particular interest to the Autumn games against France and South Africa in Australia where we controlled the game with raking kicks into their half and then retained the ball from the resulting lineout. That provides the attacking half platform to tie into the three phase game mentioned above.
    Just some thoughts as I'm typing rather than fully thought out but I think it has some merit?
    I would think that a hooker the likes of Polota-Nau would have a place in his calculations with good traditional skills but an ability to run and pass as well.

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    its interesting how quickly the game has developed over the last couple of years - I remember the whole Rugby world going banana's when the Wallabies under Coach Ron McQueen (Bless him) scored a try after 16 phases of play. Now in 2005 its down to 3 again. I wonder what will be the next development.

    Flat-Top don't stress about how your opinion is taken here in our little part of the world. Your insight of JC2 has the majority of us at a disadvantage, go right ahead and tell us all the stories about him you have mate.

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