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'A lot of work to do': Schmidt's advice from former Wallaby coaches

Joe Schmidt watches on at the Rugby World Cup 2023. Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Joe Schmidt won’t be a Wallabies dream weaver, the new coach describing himself as a “boring pragmatist” as Rugby Australia paraded Eddie Jones’s replacement to cap a wild year for the flailing side.


Twelve months and three days after Kiwi Dave Rennie was sensationally axed in favour of Jones, another New Zealander was being introduced as the man to rescue a side that’s slumped to No.9 in the world.

Jones departed less than a year into his five-year tenure, having won two of nine Tests in 2023 and overseen a World Cup flop in which the side failed to exit the pool stage for the first time.

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Despite heavy criticism of his selections, tactics and communication, Jones is already back at the helm of Japan after continually denying he had been in talks to take that job in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup.

Schmidt, who hails from Kawakawa in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands region, coached Ireland for almost seven years – winning three Six Nations titles including the 2018 Grand Slam and taking them to world No.1 for the first time.

They also beat the All Blacks and won in South Africa for the first time under his tenure.

Appointed World Rugby’s high-performance boss in October 2020, he left that role to assist Ian Foster at the All Blacks and helped take the side all the way to last year’s World Cup final where they were pipped by South Africa.


He said he had chatted to Rennie and other former coaching staff, but not Jones, about what to expect with the Wallabies.

“The message is there’s a lot of work to do,” he said on Friday.

“I’m not great at selling dreams. Dreams are not tangible. I’m a pragmatic sort of individual, probably characterised as boring.

“I don’t have the charisma that Eddie has.”


Schmidt said his son Luke, who has severe epilepsy, was front of mind when he agreed to an 18-month deal taking in next year’s British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

Whether he continues ahead of the next World Cup will be a later conversation, with Schmidt hesitant to over-commit and hopeful an Australian coach will surface in the meantime.


He even joked he thought he’d retired once, back in New Zealand, but said witnessing the Wallabies’ plight in France last year had stirred something inside him.

“That … was not an Australian team that I recognised, certainly not in my time,” he said.

“I’m desperate for the Wallabies to be competitive. That’s why I’m here.

“One of the best ways to grow the interest is to win games.

“People love to get along when they believe their team are going to be really competitive.”

A panel of former Wallabies and Rugby Australia (RA) executives including new chairman Dan Herbert, chief executive Phil Waugh, president Joe Roff, John Eales, returning RA advisor David Nucifora, and new high-performance chief Peter Horne unanimously agreed on the appointment.

Schmidt will report to Horne in a new structure designed to align RA’s high-performance programs, while the nation’s Super Rugby clubs have pledged to co-operate with the governing body’s desire for centralisation.

“Joe has delivered success at every stop in his career,” Waugh said.

“Given our stated plan to build a unified Australian rugby system, Joe’s experience with Ireland and New Zealand – two of the most aligned rugby nations in the world – will no doubt prove valuable as we move forward.”


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Ardy 152 days ago

Very encouraging. We might be at the starting point to build a National Rugby team that is moving in the right direction.

Forward pass 153 days ago

Silly boy. Should have retired.

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Shaylen 14 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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