Eddie Jones' latest NRL coaching recruit could be a 'rabbit out of the hat'
The Wallabies will be up against familiar accents at Twickenham on Saturday.
Not only are England coached by Eddie Jones, they have Anthony Seibold on board as well.
The 47-year-old Queenslander’s most recent coaching job in Australia ended abruptly, after presiding over the worst season in Brisbane’s NRL history and enduring appalling abuse on social media.
Now Seibold finds himself in a different code on the other side of the world, his arrival described by former England international Stuart Barnes as “the most staggering appointment since (Eddie Jones) took the reins at Twickenham”.
Barnes, writing in the Sunday Times, said: “There isn’t another person on the rugby planet who would have come up with the former Broncos coach as part of England’s World Cup package.”
Nevertheless Barnes said Jones has “an acute rugby brain, not afraid to trust his beliefs and gamble in a way no one else would” and “who knows, may have pulled a rabbit out of his hat again”.
Seibold, indeed a former Rabbitoh and NRL coach of the year, said on Tuesday he had settled in quickly since replacing New Zealander John Mitchell last month as England’s defence coach.
“I have really enjoyed my time so far – it’s been really interesting working with the group and the coaching staff as well,” he said.
“I’ve been super-impressed with the professionalism of staff and players and I have really enjoyed myself, but we know there are some bigger tests to come over the next couple of weeks.”
“At the weekend we showed we were able to handle that disruption if you want to call it that and I’ve been really impressed with the way the group handled this morning,” Seibold said.
Seibold knows his way around the UK.
Having begun in the lower grades with Brisbane, he played for Canberra in the NRL before moving to Super League where he played for the London Broncos and with Hull in the north of England, then had stints playing and coaching in Wales.
Back home he had spells coaching in various roles with Melbourne and Manly before becoming South Sydney’s head coach in 2017.
Having impressed at Redfern, Seibold switched to Brisbane in late 2018 but the homecoming was not a success and he was gone in August 2020.
It was at Souths that Seibold got to know Jones, a Rabbitohs fan.
“I have had a relationship with Eddie since probably 2017,” he said.
“I was head coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL and Eddie did some professional development learning with me and we stayed in contact.
“We have had a relationship that has been going for four or five years now – a lot of shared learning.
“I am hopeful I have been able to pass on a couple of things to him that he has been able to take away.”
On his own philosophy, Seibold said: “All good defensive sides, in union and league, are built around attitude and working hard for your mate. You build that trust over a period of time.
“Making sure that the players understand their roles initially and then having the attitude to make sure they perform are at the heart of what I do.”
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