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Thread: Wallabies no longer based in Sydney

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Wallabies no longer based in Sydney

    A Kiwi and now a Queenslander: Rennie breaks with Wallabies tradition

    By Georgina Robinson
    August 3, 2020 7.38pm

    Dave Rennie will become just the second Wallabies coach in almost four decades to make a base outside Sydney when he decamps to Queensland on Tuesday.

    Rennie and wife Steph will make a break for freedom after two weeks in strict hotel quarantine and the first place they will head is the airport, to catch a flight to the Sunshine State.

    "I want to make sure Steph has plenty of support around her. Ive got a couple of sisters in Queensland, weve got lots of family, a lot of our coaching group is up there as well so their partners as well, and it made sense," Rennie said.

    "No doubt Ill still spend a bit of time in Sydney but ensuring that Steph was going to have plenty of support around her when Im not around was important. Were going to rent for a little while and then buy, so somewhere between Brisbane and Gold Coast."

    Rennie will be joining the rest of the Australian coaching staff - Scott Wisemantel, Matt Taylor and director of rugby Scott Johnson - in the warmer climes of southeast Queensland and northern NSW. Rugby Australia athletic performance specialist John Pryor is also based there.

    But it is only the second time since Queensland great Bob Templeton coached Australia in the early 1980s that a Wallabies coach has lived outside Sydney.

    John Connolly was the last, basing himself on the Sunshine Coast during his two-year spell in the top job. Johnson - then Connolly's assistant - Michael Foley and scrum guru Alec Evans, among others, also lived there.

    But every coach between them and since has been a Sydney local. Robbie Deans, Australia's first New Zealand coach, moved to Sydney from Christchurch. Ewen McKenzie, an interstate migrant from Victoria as a young man, moved back to Sydney from Brisbane when he was promoted from the Queensland job to Wallabies coach after Deans' departure.

    "Im going to spend a lot of time away from home," Rennie said. "For half the year youre playing international footy and travelling and then for the other half of the year my plan is to get around and have a presence in Super Rugby, so a lot of time away from home."

    The outlier will be Brumbies coach Dan McKellar, who is expected to be confirmed as Wallabies forward coach before the end of the season.

    McKellar looks likely to stay on in Canberra next year, seeing out his contract with the Brumbies while balancing Wallabies duties.

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  2. #2
    Senior Player
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Dont they have any friends and relatives in Perth?

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  3. #3
    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The Bronze Star of Faith
    I'd call that the first step out the door, Roger Davis will be looking for Rennie's head on a pike.

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    C'mon the

  4. #4
    Senior Player
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    The sound of a muffled explosion was reported yesterday evening to have emanated from the vicinity of the UNSW David-Phillips Sports Field.

    Subsequently, it is rumoured that a gross of wax effigies of Dave Rennie has been delivered to the Daceyville offices of the NSW Rugby Union this morning.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Was still some talk about home tests.

    No bubble, but Bledisloe Cup series still expected to be no trouble

    Wayne Smith, Senior Sport Writer
    8:50PM August 3, 2020

    Although New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has dismissed the prospect of a trans-Tasman bubble starting anytime soon, Rugby Australia officials are still pressing ahead with plans that will see the Wallabies and All Blacks play their four scheduled Tests after periods of self-isolation.

    Ardern said on Monday Australia’s coronavirus community transmission levels, heavily influenced by the new outbreak in Victoria, were too high to contemplate opening the borders. Open borders would have been very much Option A as far as the Bledisloe Cup series was concerned, but officials on both sides of the Tasman are still proceeding with what they consider an acceptable Option B.

    That would entail the All Blacks going into a New Zealand Warriors-style quarantine – the Kiwis did their two-week isolation in a bubble at Tamworth ahead of the NRL competition – before the October 10 Test in either Sydney or Perth and the October 17 Test in Brisbane.

    Almost immediately, the Wallabies would have to fly to NZ to be there for two weeks before playing the All Blacks in the remaining two Tests on November 7 and 14. Unless the pandemic has eased sufficiently for the borders to be open by that time, the Wallabies would locate somewhere where they could access their hotel, training field and gym all within a controlled “clean” environment.

    Potentially, they could even be forced to undergo isolation on the same terms on their return to Australia, giving coach Dave Rennie access to his players for another fortnight, even though there might not be any further international rugby scheduled for the remainder of the year. The odds of the Rugby Championship proceeding are diminishing by the day as South Africa and Argentina are at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

    It is not just the Australian Test players who are being impacted by the pandemic. Junior Wallabies (under 20s) coach Jason Gilmore had hoped his side would be able to play an Oceania series later this year, but that has been cancelled.

    “What we are hoping for is a last roll of the dice, whether we can get a curtain-raiser to a Bledisloe Cup game,” Gilmore, who has been seconded to the Waratahs as an assistant coach, said on Monday. “Otherwise it’s just club footy and Super Rugby this year.”

    The Waratahs will return to the fray against a rampant Queensland side at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night. All indications are that coach Rob Penney will persist at five-eighth with Will Harrison who had the good fortune to time his 21st birthday for last Thursday in the week of the Tahs’ bye.

    Harrison stood deeper in attack than what was needed when the NSW side lost 24-10 to the Rebels in their last outing, which perhaps partially explains why the Tahs scored only the one try, and that from an intercept. Still, he is a neat and tidy footballer and there is only one way for him to learn the nuances of his position and that is by playing there.

    Gilmore can take a degree of pride in the fact that Reds’ sensations Harry Wilson and his Junior Wallabies captain of 2019, Fraser McReight, have made such a success of their first season of senior football but, as Waratahs defence coach, pride will be the last emotion he experiences on Saturday night.

    “I think Harry had a really good start to Super Rugby pre-COVID and coming back post-COVID (in the Super Rugby AU competition) he probably was a bit of a marked man,” Gilmore said. “A lot of teams were more aware of him and probably defending him really well. But in the last game (against the Brumbies), the last game and a half, because he keeps coming, keeps competing, he has started to open teams up again with his support play and his running lines.

    “And Fraser, I thought he has had a really good start to the competition. The good thing about that is that they are coming up against Hoops (Michael Hooper), Jack Dempsey and Lachie Swinton, so it is going to be a really good battle in the back-row.”

    With only one win – against the Western Force – the Tahs are entering “must-win” territory against the Reds. If they lose this weekend it could become almost impossible for them to make the three-way play-offs.

    “Yeah, definitely,” he said. “It’s the halfway point of the competition. The Brumbies have made a good start winning all of their games and the Reds, they have made a reasonable start, so it is going to be really congested around that two-three position. So we definitely have to get cracking.”

    Wayne Smith
    Senior Sport Writer

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