The Roar
The Roar


Exclusive: Schmidt set to bring 'Lord' back to the Wallabies as first key appointment

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
6th March, 2024
20846 Reads

Twelve months after expressing his “disappointment” of not being allowed to continue the “journey with the Wallabies” under Eddie Jones, Laurie Fisher is set to return to the national set-up in one of Joe Schmidt’s first appointments.

The Roar understands the long-serving coach, who stepped down as the Brumbies’ assistant at the end of last season, has been approached to join Schmidt’s coaching team.

While no contract has been signed, it’s believed Fisher is being lined up as Schmidt’s defence coach.

It’s the same role Fisher held for the second half of 2022, as he was called upon by Dave Rennie to fill the void left by Matt Taylor midway through The Rugby Championship.

Fisher, who is popularly known as ‘Lord, is recognised as being one of the best assistants in Australian rugby, with his expertise extending from defence, the contact zone and breakdown areas.

If, as expected, Fisher does return, his appointment will be widely well received, with the veteran coach known for his no-frills approach to the game.


Last week, 59-Test playmaker Matt To’omua said Fisher was the ideal candidate.

“Any team, he’s coached, it does the hard stuff well, does the breakdown well,” To’omua said of his former coach on The Roar Rugby podcast.

“I’d love to see our Wallabies being a team that’s really hard to beat, they’re just tough and, at the breakdown, they’re going to compete for everything. And then we can add the gloss.

“Joe Schmidt sounds like he’s got a lot of systems of attack that he works really well with, but I think if you’re not winning that physical battle then you’re not getting any points in a Test match.

“Laurie brings that for me. I think there’s no one better that we could have.”

Assistant coach Laurie Fisher during an Australia Wallabies training session at Sanctuary Cove on August 23, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Laurie Fisher is being lined up to join Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies coaching team. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


Fisher expressed his disappointment of not being wanted to continue coaching the Wallabies at last year’s World Cup.

“Disappointed to not be continuing the journey with the Wallabies through to the World Cup,” he tweeted.

“Will play my part by ensuring all Brumbies players are in a program that maximises their progress & development to be the best they can be. Enjoyed the brief opportunity.”

Jones put his exclusion down to wanting a team that wasn’t already embedded in Super Rugby, so they could focus purely on the World Cup.

Yet, as was the case throughout the entire campaign where contradictions continued, other coaches like Dan Palmer, who coached with the Brumbies, were brought on.

Fisher later questioned Jones’ coaching team, questioning what the Wallabies’ philosophy was around the breakdown.


“From watching the game, I don’t know that they have great clarity themselves at the moment,” Fisher told The Roar Rugby Podcast during The Rugby Championship.

“They have a new defensive coach [Brett Hodgson] who’s never coached rugby union, hasn’t played rugby union.

“He’s obviously working on connection and kick chase and first phase. Is he also talking about what is our contest policy between the 15s, what do you do in our own 22? I saw guys having a crack, but I didn’t see a designated policy of how we’re going to get some pressure on their ball.

“Even close to our line, I saw Jed Holloway pull out of a contest. For goodness sake, you’ve just got to go in and make a mess of it. It’s a non-negotiable. So, I don’t know if that’s an area that they’ve addressed with any significance yet. It’s a huge area for potential improvement.”

Former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie with Laurie Fisher (L) during an Australian training session at the Peffermill Playing Fields, on October 28, 2022, in Edinburgh. Photo: Getty Images

Since finishing up with the Brumbies, Fisher has been headhunted to join various programs to add his expertise.

As well as coaching Australia A and the Barbarians last year, he has spent time with Rennie at Kobe and Peter Hewat at Ricoh.


Speaking on The Roar Rugby podcast last week, Fisher said he was frustrated Rennie wasn’t able to build on the steady progress he thought the Wallabies were experiencing under the New Zealand coach for the World Cup.

“We really spoke about the future as opposed to the past. That’s happened and there was no point in dwelling on that,” said Fisher, having caught up with Rennie last month following a match between Ricoh and Kobe.

“But I did feel in my small time at the back end of 2022, that there were genuine areas of progress.

“I feel as though we identified them through the northern hemisphere tour and we were in a good position to progress our game in 2023.

“How far that was going to be, who knows? But I definitely felt that we had identified some really key areas around ball retention, around ruck speed, around what we do in defence.

“It would have really put us in good stead for World Cup. So that was disappointing. But in the end, you move on and you attack what’s in front of you and you leave what’s behind you.”

New Wallabies Head Coach Joe Schmidt is set to bring on Laurie Fisher as his assistant coach. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


Schmidt revealed on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven program that the biggest challenge he faced in the immediate future was getting organised ahead of the midyear Tests against Wales and Georgia.

“For me, it’s the immediacy of what’s coming up,” Schmidt said.

“This Super Rugby [competition] will go quickly and we will try to get ourselves organised.

“As I said, the end of April, hopefully, with most of the support staff, but by the end of June, we have a three-day camp and then a match preparation week and we play Wales. They’re playing currently, they’re building combinations, that team cohesion takes time as well, not as much time as building depth, but right now that would be in the crosshairs as the most important target for me.”