Wallabies fans can expect a new brand of rugby in Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup Test with a melting pot of European, Kiwi and Super Rugby experience now at the coaching table, according to defence guru Matt Taylor.
After eight years in Scotland, including serving as defence coach for the national team, Queenslander Taylor has joined Kiwi Dave Rennie, who has won Super Rugby titles as well as coached Glasgow.
Attack coach Scott Wisemantel was one of Eddie Jones’s most trusted lieutenants in helping England smash the Wallabies and the All Blacks to reach the World Cup final last year, while forwards coach Geoff Parling is a former British and Irish Lions lock who has been coaching with the Melbourne Rebels.
Taylor, who helped the Reds to the Super Rugby title in 2011, said they had worked together to put a new stamp on the Wallabies.
“I think you will certainly see a change in how the Wallabies operate from maybe how it’s gone in the past,” said Taylor, ahead of the opening Wellington Test.
“We’ve got a really exciting coaching group; we’ve all had different influences and experiences.
“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how we want to coach the Wallabies to get clarity around certain areas and have challenged each other and tried to come up what we believe is the best method moving forward.
“Hopefully the public will see what we’re all about come Sunday.”
Taylor said skills had been a particular focus during their preparation, while he had also implemented a new defensive system.
Rennie will name his first side on Friday, with a number of debutants expected, while game-breaking outside back Jordan Petaia is set to play after overcoming a hip injury.
Taylor, who replaced Nathan Grey in the Test set-up, wasn’t giving away any secrets.
“There might be a few surprises in terms of what people think but it’s probably not a surprise to us in terms of how they’ve operated or performed in the environment,” he said.
“Most of the squad have put themselves in the position to be selected and we’ve just got to work out the best team that has the ability to win this Test match.”
He said both the Wallabies and All Blacks were playing “guessing games”, with Ian Foster new at the New Zealand helm.
They are also expected to blood some young players.
“We’re probably having a little bit of a guessing game between both squads,” the 48-year-old said.
“The main thing we’ve focused on, being a new coaching group, is embedding our structures.
“We don’t know how the All Blacks are going to operate so we’ve just been really focused on us.”
– Melissa Woods
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