Shake-up recommended for Australia rugby processes

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Comprising former Wallabies Pat Howard and Nathan Sharpe and four-time Olympic rower Bo Hansen, the panel targeted high performance alignment, coaching and leadership and culture in their report.


High performance alignment, the link between Super Rugby sides and the Wallabies, needed more reality than the lip service than has occurred in the past.


Significantly, the review found players chosen for the Wallabies were below the physical readiness required for Test rugby.


As a result player physical and skill development targets were recommended along with greater sharing of performance data management and analysis. Player succession planning was also needed while academies should be integrated with talent management plans and skill-based specific coaching support.


The panel also found on the other side of the coin that there needed to be greater alignment between the Wallabies and Rugby Australia's administration group.


As a result more attention will be paid by the Wallabies in developing a leadership group, selected by formal process with a leadership development plan incorporated into the system.


The Wallabies had no clear leadership definition in 2019.


There was also a need to build and enhance the team culture of the Wallabies by connecting with teams of the past and by integrating Classic Wallabies into training camps and team environments.


Departing coach Michael Cheika's reluctance to use sports psychology assistance was also considered and it was suggested that more be done in this area.


Poor coaching resources among Australia's rugby pool were also highlighted with significant attention needing to be placed on succession planning and development, with focus from academy level to the top echelons of the game.


Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said it was clear from the review there was no issue with the pride the Wallabies had in representing their country.


But the review had been necessary to look at the lessons to be taken from the 2019 campaign for the entire Rugby Australia organisation to best prepare the side's future success.


She said the review would not be released in full for confidentiality reasons and to respect the integrity of the review process. However, a summary of the more than 40 recommendations made would be issued.


Incoming coach, New Zealander Dave Rennie, would be given insight into all the review findings.


"The report shows there are clearly areas needing development and improvement. Some of these can be addressed quickly and easily, while others will take time and a collective desire among our professional teams to implement and create real change," she said.


Plans had already been put in place in the high performance area in late-2018 and Scott Johnson's appointment as director of rugby was part of that process. They had also appointed coaching and team management personnel with the skillsets to achieve the desired objectives in the Wallabies programme, she said.


"We will continue to keep the rugby public informed on our progress as we work through the recommendations over the coming months," she said.


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