Cheers to Phil: Waugh's leadership the missing ingredient but Wallabies could do with a 'secret sauce'
G'day Rugby fans, Barry here, and let me tell you, the latest move by Rugby Australia is like a breath of fresh air in…
The last few days has seen some changes take place in the Australian rugby landscape. What impact will these changes have in the future of Australian rugby are not yet known but I’m excited about it.
Robbie Deans has resigned – or was asked to leave but given the opportunity to announce his resignation. Ewen McKenzie has been appointed as the new Wallabies coach. Jake White is whinging the ARU are racist because he didn’t get the job.
James O’Connor is out of a job. Damien Hill is also out of a job and is blaming Kurtley Beale. Tony McGahan has taken over at the troubled Melbourne Rebels.
Michael Cheika says Israel Falou is more or less re-signed for the Waratahs and is now chasing Kurtley Beale’s signature. George Smith calls and end to his Test career (sorry to see him go out like he did).
It seems like a cyclone has come through. So how will the landscape of Australian Rugby look after these events? When the dust settles who will be left standing or rather who will stand up to the task and be noticed? No doubt we will see some changes yet to come as a result of the changes already taking place.
But let’s look at the most important change. The Wallabies coach.
Out with the old and in with the new. A new coach doesn’t mean a new player group necessarily but in the case of the Wallabies I think it will.
Deans had his favourites to an extent; he would experiment with them out of position to fit them in his team. It seemed to me he had run out of ideas for a game plan.
McKenzie will do things rather differently from his predecessor. We have seen McKenzie change his game plan and his personnel to suit the plan depending on who the opposition is. He fields the best side possible to get the job done.
The best game of the Lions series was against the Queensland Reds. Yes they lost but it was easily the most enjoyable game to watch. Perhaps it would have been a different result had the Wallabies squad members from the Reds been released to play for their provincial side.
McKenzie seems to get the best out of his players. Using the Reds an example, we can assume McKenzie is going to have an impact along these lines:
Firstly, new game plans which will adapt to individual countries exploiting their weaknesses which will keep opposition coaches guessing.
Secondly, new players will be blooded (Kyle Godwin for one) or players will be brought back into the side (obviously Quade Cooper for starters).
Thirdly, he will implement attacking rugby and treat Wallaby players fairly but with no nonsense.
Finally, he will be an Aussie coach, coaching Aussies.
The Wallabies after Deans for almost six years felt a bit stale. A new chapter is beginning at the Wallabies. Changes are happening and I’m excited.
There will be a settling in period and usually teams have a positive turn around under a new coach. There will be some wins, some losses and some new player combinations built.
What the Australian rugby supporter wants is some memorable moments to be proud of and boast about to the other nationalities over a drink at the bar. I think we can look forward to a few in the coming years with McKenzie running the show.
To be fair, McKenzie isn’t the Australian rugby Jesus come to save us and can’t perform miracles. Though if he can turn water into wine, that might make the losses we do have seem a whole lot easier.