Joe Schmidt Wallabies coach

Australia coach Joe Schmidt said the “audition” for the Rugby Championship was over after a revamped Wallabies prepare to face South Africa. Image: Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

Joe Schmidt favourite to bag Wallabies coach job

The respected Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt is solidifying his position as the front-runner for the Wallabies coaching job but it seems he needs convincing.

Joe Schmidt Wallabies coach

Australia coach Joe Schmidt said the “audition” for the Rugby Championship was over after a revamped Wallabies prepare to face South Africa. Image: Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

The respected Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt is solidifying his position as the front-runner following Rugby Australia president Phil Waugh’s announcement that the Wallabies coach would be named by the end of March.

Waugh announced that following journeyman Peter Horne’s appointment as director of high performance on Friday, RA will begin searching more vigorously for Eddie Jones’ replacement.

Joe Schmidt favoured to bag Wallabies job

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Even though he will continue to serve as Ireland’s high-performance director until after the Olympics in Paris, former Brumbies coach David Nucifora will also return to the governing body in an advising capacity and probably have a voice in the Wallabies selection.

“We’ll be in market next week with expressions of interest and ideally we want to be having an appointment in certainly Q-1 (quarter one) in ‘24 given that the Welsh are here in July,” Waugh said according to AAP.

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“So it is a bit of a sprint. We understand that time is against us, but equally it’s really important process to get right.

“This is a journey and this is the start of that journey and a really exciting path ahead for the game here in Australia and we need to be very disciplined and go through the right process to get the best possible people into the organisation.”

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The front-runners were thought to be former Wallabies assistants Stephen Larkham and Dan McKellar, as well as Michael Cheika, who led Australia to the 2015 World Cup final and became available this week after resigning as Argentina coach.

The chosen one is Joe Schmidt

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However, it is said that RA has been actively chasing Schmidt, who led Ireland to the top of the global rankings before responding to a New Zealand SOS and assisting in the planning of the All Blacks’ march to the World Cup final in France this year.

Australia missed the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time due to years of deterioration, and Schmidt has allegedly been hesitant to join the Wallabies.

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However, Nucifora was also presumably before RA enticed him to return home.

Waugh was non-commital on the term of appointment as he said this would depend on what the given coach presents as their plan for immediate improvement and sustained success.

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“It would be dependent on the applicants (being) open to what’s going to drive immediate success, but equally how to drive sustained success,” he said.

“We’ve historically got into this rhythm of it’s all about a World Cup. You end up in a World Cup cycle and you’ve seen through the success of Ireland being a really good example.

“They’ve never got through past the quarter-finals at a World Cup but they’ve been winning consistently at provincial level and at Test-match level and therefore it drives engagement with spectators and fans and the community.

“So I’m really interested in creating winning Wallabies and winning Wallaroos.

“The sevens team are on the right path both across the men’s and the women’s.

“But what’s really important is winning consistently and not just having a sugar hit of a really successful World Cup and then dipping afterwards.”

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Wallabies coach doesn’t need to be an Aussie

Waugh also said the Wallabies coach didn’t need to be an Australian. RA want the best person for the job. The appointment will set the tone for Aussie rugby.

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“We need the best possible coach to lead the system and the culture,” he said.

“What I will say is that our competitive advantage in sport is being Australian and so that Australian way. That Australian culture needs to be driven through the team.

“But that can be driven through a coach not from Australia.”