First, a disclosure: I was and remain a Robbie Deans fan. He suffered enormously from being characterised as an outsider, and worse, a Kiwi.
His winning percentage (56.80%), often with seriously reduced man power, is second only by a small margin to Eddie Jones (57.89%).
The playing stocks in the Jones era – immediately after our best ever boss Rod Macqueen – were arguably much deeper and better than what Deans had access to.
It has been downhill, in fact, with Ewen McKenzie at 50% and the incumbent Michael Cheika at 47%.
Indeed, the approach seems to be a case of ‘go out and have a go’. This is in part attributable to a general lack of on-field leadership as well as the absence of adaptability by both the coach and his leadership group.
Help is on the horizon, however, as all the noise suggests Dave Rennie – a Kiwi via Scotland – is firming as the next Wallabies coach to succeed the lamentable Cheika.
Rennie is untested at international level. He has an impressive record at provincial level and, unlike Cheika, seems to be a very balanced, thoughtful and considered individual.
Australian rugby badly needs some quick wins in the post-Cheika era to restore some level of interest and support from the declining rugby community.
Assuming Rennie gets the job – there aren’t any obvious local candidates – it will be fascinating to observe whether the critics of Robbie Deans get behind another Kiwi at this crucial time.
It will be equally fascinating to observe what change in style, tactics, skill and personnel occurs.
A change at the top cannot come soon enough.