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Thread: ARU urged to pick next coach soon

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    ARU urged to pick next coach soon

    ARU urged to pick next coach soon

    By Jim Morton
    June 14, 2007


    AUSTRALIAN Rugby Union supremo John O'Neill is being urged to fast-forward selection of the next Australia head coach.

    O'Neill doesn't return to office for another fortnight, but the Brumbies Super 14 franchise and Test coaching candidates want to see John Connolly's successor named before the rugby World Cup.

    The ARU high performance unit has already started the process of finding the new coach, but it has made a tentative timeline for an announcement after the tournament.

    The Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 7 and doesn't finish until October 20, when Connolly's tenure will be over.

    With Laurie Fisher (Brumbies), Ewen McKenzie (New South Wales) and David Nucifora (Blues) all in the running, a late-October or November appointment could play havoc with their current team's Super 14 preparations.

    The issue is set to be discussed when O'Neill attends an ARU board meeting next week, but the ARU is sitting tight on its plans.

    The Brumbies and Waratahs have been told that no decision will be made until the return of O'Neill, whose priority is ensuring the Wallabies enjoy a successful Rugby World Cup campaign. (Shouldn't the GURU be able to handle two pressing issues at once???)

    The Brumbies have been vocal in urging the ARU to finish its search within two months, while NSW is privately keen to see a prompt decision.

    "An appointment in November could have significant ramifications on a province's position for the Super 14 season," Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

    "It may not just affect the head coach but your assistant coaches as well."

    Australia A coach and slight frontrunner Fisher agreed that a post-Rugby World Cup appointment would cause disruptions that would be tough to overcome.

    "That's the difficulty because you are committed to (Super 14) at that time the year," he said.

    "That's the issue and Ewen has got to do the same because we are all currently employed and committed to the 2008 season.

    ARU high-performance director Pat Wilson said he was aware of the difficulties.

    "We're not ignorant to that issue but that will be part of the discussion we have when John comes on board," Wilson said.

    Former Super 12-winning Brumbies coach Nucifora remains "someone of interest" to the ARU despite his re-signing with the Auckland-based franchise yesterday.

    The two-year deal does not preclude Nucifora from applying for the Wallabies job. But the former Queensland and Australia hooker wouldn't speculate about his plans today.

    "There's not really a process in place at the moment, I can't answer that one," he said.

    "All of us are professional coaches and we all have to get on with what we do.

    "We can't sit and wait for some system to let you know how their process is going to work.

    "I've been lucky enough to be given this (Blues appointment) so I'm pretty happy about that."

    Wallabies backs coach Scott Johnson and former Australia five-eighth Pat Howard are among other contenders.

    AAP

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    So Knuckles is definitely out?

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    Yeah Jess, he has chosen not to renew his contract and to play his trade "elsewhere".
    Stay tuned to Radio Gerry for any updates on what "elsewhere" may mean

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    persuing a legal career perhaps.

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Robbie Dean - after due process ?

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    When John took the job he stipulated that he only wanted to contract to the end of the World Cup and would not renew after...

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    Does anyone have any opinions/ideas/thoughts on the new Wallabies coach? Who should it be?

    I'd rather not see a overseas coach if it can be avoided.

    I am disappointed that news articles mentioning a new Wallabies coach don't give serious consideration to John Muggleton (current defense coach). John's worked with the Wallabies for around 10 years now and with the three older teams over the last few years. His work helped ensure an insurmountable 1999 World Cup defense record (1 try against). He has mostly a league background prior to working with the Wallabies but if he combined with Scott Johnson as assistant coach it would be interesting to see the result. I'd say Scott's work has been dampened by Connolly's somewhat traditional or safe approach to rugby. Hell with all the ex-league stars being recruited a league background might actually help. So I think:

    Head Coach/Defense Coach: John Muggleton
    Attack Coach/Backs Coach/Asst. Coach: Scott Johnson
    Forwards Coach/Set Piece Coach: Michael Foley

    The one thing you can say about the Wallabies is that they have the best defense in world rugby, despite what anyone else will claim. Against major rivals such as the Springboks and the All Blacks we usually have significantly less possession and less terrioty and rarely lose by much.

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    I like Nucifora as the dark horse. He's done a lot with the blues in his time there, and has shown he obviously knows the structure of the game in the shaky isles. He might be just what we need to break the current strangle hold they have on world rugby. Laurie Fisher has probably lost a lot of momentum after the Junior Allblacks game.

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    C'mon the

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    For mine, if Robbie Deanes is prepared to take the challenge then there is no contest, he is the best candidate by miles and has been effectively been Coaching an International XV for years.
    If not, Nucifora has merit and would probably be my "B" choice although I can see the case being put forward by James as well.
    For a real left field choice (and I don't know his commitments next season) they could offer it to Graham Henry!

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    Is Deans a realistic option? I thought he was pretty opposed to the idea.

    Have I missed something?

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    McKenzie keen on Wallabies job

    McKenzie keen on Wallabies job

    Rupert Guinness
    Wednesday, June 20, 2007


    Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie still has his eye on the Wallabies job - despite NSW producing their worst ever performance in the Super 14 this year.

    McKenzie yesterday reiterated his desire to take over the reins of the Australian team from John Connolly, who is due to stand down after the World Cup.

    "I have read that I am not interested, that I may be or that I may not. If someone asks me to put my hat in the ring, I will," McKenzie told the Herald. "With the season we have had, I haven't thought about much other than the Waratahs. But I am interested if the circumstances are right.

    "I don't know about the timing [of an appointment] or what is going on with it. But if someone talks to me and feels I could be up to it, I will put my hand up."

    Critics will argue that the Waratahs' second-bottom finish this year will count against McKenzie getting the job. But the 41-year-old, who took NSW to the Super 14 final in his second season in charge and the semi-finals last year, vehemently rejects the notion. "We had a poor season, but I think part of being a coach is the need to go through the highs and lows," he said. "Now I have been there, that has made me more rounded." Didn't think that was possible...

    Nor is it expected NSW would stand in McKenzie's way, even though he is contracted to the state union until the end of 2008.

    The Australian Rugby Union will search worldwide for Connolly's successor after declaring they no longer regard it as a position for Australians only.

    Already touted as candidates are Brumbies and Australia A coach Laurie Fisher and Wallabies assistants Scott Johnson, Michael Foley and John Muggleton.

    If he applies, Crusaders coach Robbie Deans is also considered a strong chance, but ex-Brumbies coach David Nucifora is unlikely to come into the reckoning after recently re-signing with the Auckland Blues.

    In the meantime, McKenzie is working overtime to set up the Waratahs for next season by locking in final numbers on his playing and coaching roster.

    "We have about two or three spots available. We will have a look at the ARC [Australian Rugby Championship] and see who can fill those positions," he said, adding that he is still looking for an inside back, an outside back and a forward.

    Two key re-signings he hopes to secure soon are those of Wallaby props Matt Dunning and Al Baxter, who are still to agree on the ARU portion of their contracts. Another NSW player who has yet to decide his future is centre Morgan Turinui, who has been targeted by Queensland.

    Dunning's management held talks with the ARU yesterday, with all parties agreeing his strong game against the Springboks last Saturday could not have been timed better.

    The ARU wants to re-sign Dunning for two more years, but the loosehead prop's market value has risen after his performance in Cape Town. McKenzie, who has backed Dunning's ability through thick and thin, is still confident he will stay at NSW despite receiving lucrative overseas offers.

    "We have backed him ever since that game against England," said McKenzie, referring to the 2005 Test at Twickenham in which he was stretchered off the field after a scrum collapsed.

    Dunning's appearances in the Wallabies' four Tests this season have been his first since that tour. "I do have a wry smile when I see everyone patting him on the back when 12 months ago, many people wouldn't rate him," (Because twelve months ago he was unbackable) McKenzie said. "He has backed himself. In fact, he has re-invented himself, and he is more valuable for it."

    McKenzie is expecting the NSW board to rubber stamp his proposal to recruit an attacking coach and hopes to begin the official search today.

    After presenting his end-of-season review to the board on Monday, he was hoping to get the green light last night and be in position to start the process as early as today.

    "From the people who expressed interest, there are about 15 genuine candidates," said McKenzie, who wants the process to be as quick as it will be thorough. "As the weeks go by, people drop off as coaching appointments elsewhere always come up."

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