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Thread: No nerves for assistant coach Jim Williams

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor
    travelling_gerry's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

    No nerves for assistant coach Jim Williams

    WALLABIES assistant coach Jim Williams insists he is not worrying about the Australian Rugby Union's end-of-tour review, even though he could well become its primary victim.

    In the wake of last weekend's demoralising 9-8 loss to Scotland, ARU boss John O'Neill announced that he, high performance manager David Nucifora, head coach Robbie Deans and ARU board members would investigate what has gone wrong with the Wallabies. The review would not just be on the spring tour but throughout a season in which they have lost four times to the All Blacks and finished at the bottom of the Tri-Nations.

    "It is crucial that we are really confrontational with every aspect of Team Wallaby," said O'Neill, who claimed the review panel would have "a good hard look at what is going wrong".
    But while he specifically said Deans' position was safe, O'Neill made no similar promises to other members of the Wallabies staff or players. To the contrary, he admitted some of the outcomes might not be to their liking.

    Given that Wallabies assistant coaches historically have tended not to fare well under such reviews, Williams might have cause to be jittery about his future but the former Australian flanker turned forwards coach claimed to be unperturbed.

    "There's always an end-of-season review," Williams said. "There's no surprise."

    But he did agree that attrition rates for Wallabies assistant coaches do tend to be high. "I suppose they do, but it's not something I'm concentrating on or worrying about. I'm trying to concentrate on the job at hand."

    Certainly, there has been no suggestion that Williams or fellow coaches Richard Graham or Patricio Noriega have in any way acted against Deans' wishes, so logic would suggest that if Deans is safe, they too should have nothing to fear. "We work together as a team, always bouncing ideas off each other," Williams said. "And certainly with the experience of Robbie, you'd be silly not to tap into it. It's one of those situations where everyone knows what everyone else is doing."

    O'Neill insisted there was nothing the ARU was skimping on in terms of supporting the Wallabies, but certainly the decision to scrap the Australian Rugby Championship and the Australia A program has undermined the depth available to Deans.

    In that respect, the review panel members -- save for Deans -- should start by having a good hard look at themselves because they were the ones who took the decision to dismantle the ARC.

    Williams, however, argued that while an ongoing third-tier competition would have been of considerable value to Australian rugby, the ARU had been forced to work within the budget available to it. "But looking at the development side of things, I think the franchises have done exceptionally well through that area," he said.

    And although Williams admitted it was "baffling" that the Wallabies kept finding new ways to lose, he claimed the coaching staff believed its approach was working and would stick with it.

    "It's just a matter of keeping faith, having faith in what you're doing, having faith in the players and faith in the whole set-up and keep moving forward, dividends will be paid," he said.

    Williams strongly took issue with those critics who have argued the Wallabies don't strive hard enough for victory because they will still be paid regardless.

    "It certainly doesn't go through these players' minds. It's something that's never brought up or never spoken about," he said. "Getting to know the guys over the last 18 months, it's not something they ever think about. They put the jumper on. They love playing rugby and they love playing rugby for Australia."

    Number eight Wycliff Palu, the Wallabies' best player against Scotland until he was taken off on a stretcher with his neck in a brace and on oxygen after taking a worrying head knock that triggered numbness down his right arm, agreed that such criticism was well wide of reality.

    "I think everyone who goes in tries hard," Palu said. "Maybe we're trying too hard and overplaying our hand. Sometimes maybe we should pull back a bit. I think on the weekend everyone wanted to get there. We were forcing passes, rushing it. That was my feeling out there."

    If the ARU is insisting on instant results against Wales, perhaps it should immediately fly Palu's mother, Keta, to Cardiff, to twist the earlobe of every underperforming player before Sunday's Test.

    Certainly the huge 120kg, 194cm number eight was cowering in fear of her when she demanded an explanation of him earlier in the season after he was dropped from the Tri-Nations squad.

    "I remember going back home and my Mum got up me and told me to pull my finger out," Palu said. "I think if I was a bit younger, she would have probably hit me or something like that, but I think I've grown out of that."

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  2. #2
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    Burgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Country WA
    Not saying I don't believe them, but "they would say that wouldn't they"...

    Definately agree with: "the decision to scrap the Australian Rugby Championship and the Australia A program has undermined the depth available to Deans.

    In that respect, the review panel members -- save for Deans -- should start by having a good hard look at themselves because they were the ones who took the decision to dismantle the ARC."

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  3. #3
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    Jul 2006
    Can't disagree with the conclusion. The point with respect to the ARC is arguable, but cancelling Aus A when they had just posted an operating surplus was frankly inexplicable. It was the ARU that said "There are alternative playing options for fringe Wallabies currently under consideration" but that turned out to be, ummm, not a damn thing. They either played for the Wallabies, or they played amateur rugby - almost seamless really.

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  4. #4
    Legend Court Reporter
    James's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Bridgetown, WA
    Been a poor year for injuries- particularly amongst the locks. At the moment we have Chisholm, Mumm and Horwill and then a big raging void.

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