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CONFIRMED: Wallabies land final piece of coaching puzzle as ex-Lion signs on ahead of showpiece event

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17th April, 2024
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Four years after getting a taste of international coaching, Geoff Parling will return as the Wallabies’ new lineout coach.

The Roar can reveal the Rebels assistant, who coached alongside Dave Rennie in six Tests during the 2020 campaign, is set to be unveiled as Joe Schmidt’s latest – and final – recruit to his coaching team in the coming days.

It comes after Rugby Australia advertised for the position in recent weeks, with interviews held last week.

While RA was keen on adding an Australian to the coaching team given Schmidt and new scrum coach Mike Cron are New Zealanders, the governing body settled on Parling, who cut his teeth in coaching Down Under. He joins long-time Brumbies mentor Laurie Fisher in the four-man coaching team.

Well-regarded Reds forwards coach Zane Hilton was considered but it was thought the entire Queensland program would benefit from stability.

“It’s an honour to coach the Wallabies and to work alongside Joe and the coaching group he has put together,” Parling said in a statement on Thursday morning confirming The Roar’s initial report.
“The events on the horizon for the Wallabies and Australian rugby represent an incredible opportunity for everyone involved in the game. I will look to work hard with the Rebels through until the end of Super Rugby, then knuckle down and help push the Wallabies forward.”


Geoff Parling is set to return to the Wallabies coaching team. Photo: Andrew Phan, Rugby Australia

Schmidt added: “Geoff has spent more than 20 years, playing and coaching in the professional game. His understanding of the lineout, along with his Super Rugby knowledge, and previous experience with the Wallabies will add value to our coaching group.”

Parling has been with the Rebels since joining the franchise for the 2018 Super Rugby season.

After hanging up the boots, he quickly transitioned into coaching.

Under his watch, the Rebels’ lineout has been somewhat inconsistent, with throwing issues particularly plaguing their set-piece progress.

Indeed, in 2024, the Rebels have won just 81.5 per cent of their lineouts, which ranks eighth in the competition.

Yet, given the inexperience across the Australian coaching ranks around forward play, it was no surprise that RA settled on Parling.


His appointment will give the Wallabies a unique insight ahead of next year’s British and Irish Lions campaign.

Alex Corbisiero (L), Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling hold the Tom Richards Cup as they celebrate after their victory over the Wallabies in the Lions decider on July 6, 2013 in Sydney. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Parling, 40, featured in all three Tests against the Wallabies the last time the Lions toured Australia, including in their series victory in Sydney.

His appointment also made sense given the state of limbo the Rebels currently are operating in.

Contracted until June 30, Parling will make a seamless transition to the Wallabies, who begin life under Schmidt on July 6 against Wales.

Rebels assistant Geoff Parling is set to join Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies coaching team. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

After previously signing a new two-year deal last year to remain at the Rebels, Parling said he called Australia home now and was looking forward to playing a part in the Lions series.


“I work with some great people that are working extremely hard to bring success to the Rebels and Victorian Rugby,” said Parling. 

“My family love where we now call home and I see some great young talent coming through in Victoria that I’m excited about helping develop and push to make the most of their careers.

“Whilst we know we still have growing to do, we’re determined to put our print in this great sporting city, especially with everything to come in the next few years.

“A Lions tour in 2025 and home World Cup in 2027 make it an exciting time to be here.

“The Lions was a special experience and one of my fondest memories in rugby. The tradition and midweek games have moments that are lost a bit in the modern game but give memories that last forever.”