Robbie Deans to have new Wallabies coaching team

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will have a new coaching team next year. His conditioning coach Peter Harding and Jim Williams his assistant coach have already left following the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Other team members Patricio Noriega and Phil Blake are also believed to be under threat.

It is unknown how many people will be in Deans’ coaching team next year. However, there is speculation that there will be two assistant coaches. The blue print for the new team is inspired by the successful All Black coaching team. In that situation the head coach Graham Henry had two assistant coaches who also had international coaching experience. A recent review indicated that Robbie Deans was a ‘lone ranger’ when it came to preparing the team and did not have enough support as Wallaby coach.

There are a variety of coaches in contention to join him. For example, Nick Scrivener is widely believed to be in contention. He used to be assistant coach of the Super Rugby team, the Brumbies and also been involved with the Scotland A and Edinburgh sides. Other potential coaching team members include Andrew Blades, a former prop and Wallabies jersey wearer himself, and Tony McGahan, who currently coaches with Munster.

The Australian Rugby Union high performance unit manager David Nucifora will continue in his role. During the Rugby World Cup he had worked as an assistant coach to Robbie Deans. Patricio Noriega is expected to continue his work with the ARU.

The changing of coaching staff follows an intensive review process of the 2011 season, particularly the Rugby World Cup. The panel who conducted the review consisted of former Wallaby players Brett Robinson, Michael Hawker, John Eales and Mark Connors. The Wallabies suffered some criticism throughout 2011, most likely due to their loss in pool play to Ireland at the World Cup. However, they finished the tournament in third place having been knocked out by eventual Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand, and ended the year as the number two ranked team in the world and as the Tri-Nations champions. The thorough review shows a reluctance to be second best and their vocal aim is to be the number one ranked team in the world.

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