Is Dessie Coaching The Wallabies Too ?

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Reserve Grader
Wallabies 'have over-achieved'
From Jim Morton in London
November 8, 2005

FORMER Queensland rugby union coach John Connolly, now based in England, believes Australia's problems are symptomatic of the natural end of an unsustainable golden era rather than failings due to coach Eddie Jones or captain George Gregan.

Pivot ... Rogers is the answer at five-eighth. Pic: AFP
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Jones and captain Gregan are both under immense pressure, including calls for their sackings, after leading the Wallabies to their worst Test-losing streak in 36 years.

But Connolly, now coaching Bath in the Zurich Premiership in England, said critics should recognise that Australia had overachieved on the world stage and couldn't compete with other top nations for playing depth.

The Wallabies had been blessed with an overabundance of once-in-a-generation players such as John Eales and Tim Horan when they picked up two World Cups in the 1990s, Connolly said.

The Queenslander also questioned whether Australian playing stocks would be as rich again.

"As far as where we are on the rugby stage, we've punched above our weight for a long time," Connolly said.

"Australian rugby has to come to the realisation that in the 1990s we had many great players who were on top of their game.

"Australia was also more professional in the days before and just after the game turned professional in 1996.

"Now the rest of the world has caught up there.

"We're always expecting to win all the time. (But) for us to win (these days) we have to get 100 per cent out of ourselves in all areas."

Connolly spoke after Wallabies legend David Campese, Grand Slam-winning coach Alan Jones and World Cup-winning skipper Nick Farr-Jones took shots at Gregan, Jones and the "predictable" structured game Australia plays.

The Wallabies meanwhile received a piece of welcome good news ahead of the Test against England on Sunday (AEDT), with five-eighth candidate Mat Rogers cleared of a broken wrist.

Rogers, sporting a new tattoo on his forearm which reads C'est La Vie, was rested from ball-work at a skills session today as a precaution, but he will train tomorrow.

Connolly backed Jones and warned against panicking with a raft of changes following a sixth consecutive loss, the 26-16 defeat by France on the weekend.

He felt lock Hugh McMeniman and hooker Adam Freier should be the only new faces in the XV to play England, while he said a backline reshuffle was needed with Rogers moving to fly half and Matt Giteau, Morgan Tirinui and Lote Tuqiri all moving one position wide.

"I think the worst thing we can do is panic this weekend," Connolly, who recommended filtering in other young players such as Lloyd Johansson and Tatafu Polota-Nau gradually, said.

"We can't put six or seven in at the one time.

"It's just not practical. To be safe as a coach you don't have that luxury. Sport is about winning games."

Connolly felt Gregan still distributed the ball smartly enough to play at scrum half.


Canteen Worker

First Grader
I think that when teams and their fans are used to winning and then suddenly they are not, it is hard to get used to it.

I suppose the English are the opposite: they are so used to losing that they actually enjoy it, and on the odd time when they win it is like a massive unexpected party!!!


One of the main reasons as to why our playing stocks are limited is that the ARU ignores the local club rugby scene and international players are lucky to play one game a year for their clubs.

As a result the average club player doesn't have the chance to learn and improve their game by training and playing with the higher quality players. It therefore limits our chances of producing the next Eales or Horan.

The ARU is greedy and only thinks of the international game and the money that it brings in. They do nothing for the grassroots level which will continue to stay at a poor level.

They made millions out of the rugby world cup in Australia but where has any of the money been spent? Probaly only on trips and salaries for the fat cats.

In the long term it will probably be better is we don't win another game on the european trip because only then will the ARU wake up to the current team and coaching position and sack Jones.

We can then get in a better copach who will instill running rubgy into the game instead of the precitable take it up the middle crap that they dish out now.

Make the teams attack unpredictable.

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