Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
New Zealand New Zealand
France France

‘It was stressful’: Joe Schmidt reacts to first win as Wallabies coach

By Finn Morton
Joe Schmidt head coach of the Wallabies is seen during the men's International Test match between Australia Wallabies and Wales at Allianz Stadium on July 06, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Captain Liam Wright and coach Joe Schmidt were both in good spirits as they walked into the post-match press conference room after Australia’s 25-16 win over Wales. It was a night to remember for a Wallabies group who haven’t been together that long.


Saturday night’s Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium has been a long time coming. The Aussies were beaten by Wales at last year’s Rugby World Cup about nine months ago in Lyon, and coach Schmidt was appointed to the role in January.

Throughout Super Rugby Pacific, fans theorised about the potential makeup of the squad and even the matchday 23. These were talking points that were debated for months but it was all leading to this one fateful July night in the Harbour City.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

It wasn’t a perfect Wallabies performance but there are plenty of positives the team can take out of that one heading into another clash with Cymru in Melbourne and a Test back in Sydney against Georgia.


Taniela Tupou and Filipo Daugunu both got on the scoresheet, but it was a stunning 69th minute try from fullback Tom Wright that will be replayed over and over for years to come. For a team that only won two of nine matches last year, this is a step in the right direction.

“A win is really important and it always is because that’s what you get judged on externally, but internally, I think just some of the moments that we did really well to earn the win, that’s what will be the focus for us building into Melbourne,” Schmidt told reporters.

“We have a few things that we’ve been working on that are maybe a little bit different to how teams have played in Super Rugby, so the adjustment time for that to become second nature is inevitably going to take time.


“Hopefully, it can take till Tuesday and we can be really good at it… it will develop over these next two weeks, hopefully, and we know how tough The Rugby Championship is.”

But other Tests are all in the future. For now, at least, the Wallabies are a winning team and that will be enough for Aussie fans to sing Schmidt’s praises after helping steer the team back towards a brighter tomorrow.

Match Summary

Penalty Goals
Drop Goals
Line Breaks
Turnovers Lost
Turnovers Won

The exciting thing is the Wallabies’ playing group and Schmidt haven’t been working together for that long at all, but there was enough there on Saturday to fill fans with a sense of hope about the future for the men in gold.

There is a lot of pressure and expectation on anyone either playing or coaching at this level, and Schmidt couldn’t help but laugh when talking about the stressors of that Test.


For Schmidt, the chance to take up the head coaching position with the Wallabies is a return to something familiar. The New Zealander was named World Rugby’s Coach of the Year during a famous stint with Ireland before moving into assistant coach roles.

“No, I haven’t really missed it,” Schmidt said with a smile. “It was stressful there today… I would be pretty candid about how I just like to work with motivated people.

“Trying to manage a staff, a lot of them I only met last week so everything’s been new.

“We went through the team warmup yesterday at the captain’s run, didn’t do a great job of it, and funnily enough we didn’t do a great job of it today, either. But they’re the sort of things that take a bit of rhythm and take a bit of ironing out.”

Watch the World Rugby U20s Championship live and for free on RugbyPass TV. Register here now
*Unavailable in Africa, NZ, Fiji, Samoa, Papua NG and Tonga


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


As part of a series of planned improvements, we will need you to reset your RugbyPass password from 24/07/24 to continue commenting on articles.

You don’t need to change anything until that time.

Thank you,


NeilB_Denver 15 days ago

World Rugby needs a strong Aussie national team. Same for Wales. Must be hard for the fans, but there’s reasons to be optimistic. I mean, it can’t get any worse, right?

Look how quickly Italy turned things around under Gonzalo Quesada.

Timgrugpass 15 days ago

There's hope (again?!) for Oz rugby... 1st time in 20years I watched a NON error ridden Wallabies. The Schmidt effect? I've heard he has some perfectionism... if so(?), is EXACTLY what Wallabies need. & have needed the past  20years; especially instead of the slop of Jones.

Chesterfield 16 days ago

I’m looking forward to seeing the improvement in Australian footballers as a result of regular international test football for their Super Rugby players. It is a good strategy that should pay dividends in their overall competitiveness.
Better than bringing players from lower leagues in non-TRC nations.

Jon 16 days ago

That is some turn around in fortunes from the WC result. Well done Wallabies.

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Wonton 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

19 Go to comments
Nick 4 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
FEATURE Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility