Sport Wallabies turn to former British and Irish Lion as forwards coach
The Wallabies team Dave Rennie should pick for Bledisloe 1
First Test of the season barely a fortnight away? You know what that means: it’s time to play selector. The Wallabies head over to New Zealand this very day ahead of Bledisloe 1. Captaincy aside, Dave Rennie will use a considerably different team to the 23 named by Michael Cheika in Australia’s last Test, the World Cup quarter-final defeat to England more than 11 months ago. With the precise make-up of that matchday squad still up in the air, here’s a crack at picking a side from the 44-man Wallabies squad to take on the All Blacks in Wellington on October 11.
Former British and Irish Lions lock Geoff Parling will be the Wallabies’ forwards coach in 2020.
Brumbies boss Dan McKellar had been favoured to take the role but decided instead to focus on the Canberra-based side for the remainder of the year to manage the departure of assistant Peter Hewat.
With McKellar unavailable, head coach Dave Rennie told News Corp that Parling was “the obvious choice”.
The 36-year-old has been part of Dave Wessels’ coaching team at the Rebels for three years now, with his work around the lineout particularly impressive – the Melbourne side had the best lineout accuracy in all of Super Rugby AU this year.
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Despite saying he'd never coach against the Wallabies, Michael Cheika has agreed to help out an old mate in Mario Ledesma during this year's Rugby Championship.Despite saying in an interview earlier this year he would never coach against the Wallabies, Cheika has agreed to work in an advisory capacity under Ledesma, his former assistant at the Waratahs and Wallabies.
“We’re very lucky to get the services of someone of Geoff’s ability at such short notice, especially considering he already has an intimate knowledge of the players,” Rennie said.
“He is a good man. He’s technically very strong around lineout and maul and he has impressed me with his work ethic to get up to speed over the last two weeks.
“There have been a lot of challenges so far in 2020 and we’ve had to be agile and adaptable, none more so than Geoff who has already made so many sacrifices while being on the road with Rebels this season but he still jumped at the opportunity to join our team.”
The appointment is just for the 2020 season, leaving an opportunity for McKellar to take the reins as forwards coach next year.
Parling was nonetheless excited to be joining up with the national side.
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“I’ve really enjoyed helping develop the players we’ve had in Melbourne, so to now get the opportunity to join Dave’s coaching team for this Test season is a real honour,” he said.
“There is some great talent here, but we won’t get anywhere without hard work. I have high expectations of the group and am looking forward to seeing them rip in.”
Parling earnt 29 Test caps for England in a playing career which also saw him picked for the Lions on their successful 2013 tour of Australia. He joins Scott Wisemantel (attack), Matt Taylor (defence) and Petrus Du Plessis (scrum) on Rennie’s team of assistants.
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The AFL all-time great alphabet teams: Letter T .
With a forward line as potent as the one boasted by the T team, there would be plenty of shootouts. Back line Bill Thomas (South Melbourne 1905-13, Richmond 1914-16, 1918-19) 197 games, five goals Bill Thomas was a resolute and consistent defender for South Melbourne and Richmond, playing a key role in the 1909 premiership for South by taking an important saving mark in the dying minutes. His leadership was well noted, and he captain-coached South Melbourne in 1910 and 1911 to finals appearances.