Joe needs to straighten out Wallabies

Henry

After the Eddie Jones fiasco, Rugby Australia (RA) today confirmed that Joe Schmidt is the Wallabies’ new head coach.

The 58-year-old New Zealander officially starts on March 1 and he has signed a two-year contract. This means that he will hold the coaching reins of Australia’s national rugby team at least until after next year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

Schmidt had been one of the All Blacks’ assistant coaches until recently, but it was his time at the helm of Ireland that gave his rugby credentials a definite boost.

In addition to his three Six Nations titles, he was also the mastermind behind the Irish’s victories against New Zealand and South Africa, while in 2018 he was named World Rugby’s coach of the year.

However, he knows that an uphill battle may await him now – under Jones’ short-term supervision, the Wallabies had one low point after another.

There was, among other things, the big defeat against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld, while they also did not qualify for the knock-out rounds of the World Cup tournament for the first time in their rugby history.

“I am well aware of the fact that the Wallabies are having a difficult time behind the plate, but I have been persuaded to help with the way forward,” said Schmidt.

His first major home series will be against Wales in July, while there are also tour matches against England, Scotland and Ireland.

“The upcoming Tests against Wales are around the corner – just after the Super Rugby tournament in fact – and there are many opportunities and challenges ahead before next year’s special series against the British and Irish Lions.”

According to Peter Horne, RA’s high performance boss, it was a simple decision to hire Schmidt. A committee, which included Phil Waugh, John Eales and Joe Roff, believes that the Kiwi is the right person for the job.

“It was a unanimous decision to appoint Joe – everyone on the panel was impressed by his attitude, his calm and logical approach to the game, as well as his communication style,” said Horne.

Schmidt’s ability to develop world-class players and his love for a strong team culture also impressed his new rugby bosses.