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Rugby Australia appoints panel to conduct post World Cup Wallabies review

Rugby Australia appoints panel to conduct post World Cup Wallabies review
November 6, 2019

Rugby Australia has announced the formation of a panel to review the performance of the Wallabies following their inconsistent 2019 season and the team’s exit from the Rugby World Cup at the quarter final stage, having lost two of their five tournament matches.

Rugby Australia Director Scott Johnson will also work alongside a three person panel to deliver the review over the next month, which will be run separately to the process of appointing a new Wallabies coach.

The panel will consist of 116-Test Wallabies forward Nathan Sharpe, former Wallaby and cricket administrator Pat Howard and four-time Olympic rower and sport performance consultant Bo Hanson.

The review will involve interviewing all Test players and staff and encompass the World Cup campaign as well as other internationals and will consider coaching, planning, athletic performance, campaign preparation, team cohesion and selection processes.

A former Wallaby with 20 Test caps, Howard led Rugby Australia’s High Performance Unit before joining Cricket Australia in 2011.

With Cricket Australia he rose to the position of Executive General Manager of Team Performance, responsible for the Test team’s high-performance unit but was asked to step down late last year following a critical review into Cricket Australia and the ball-tampering affair.

He is currently Chief Executive of ASX-listed sport, golf and venue technology company MSL.

Hanson, who won three Olympic medals from his four campaigns between 1996 and 2004, is a Director of an international sport performance consultancy Athlete Assessments. He has worked previously with the Queensland Reds and Australian Sevens teams.

Sharpe, a former Wallabies Captain and dual John Eales-medallist, will offer valuable input as one of Australia’s most experienced modern-day players. The highly-regarded Wallabies lock is one of only 11 Australian Test centurions and has remained closely connected to the game since his retirement from international rugby in 2012.

Outcomes of the review will be used in preparation for the 2020 international season and future Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games campaigns.

The review of the 2019 season comes on the back of significant changes to Rugby Australia’s High Performance structure implemented in late 2018, which included the appointed of Scott Johnson into the new role of Director of Rugby.

The 2018 restructure also resulted in the appointment of a Wallabies selection panel, the implementation of an integrated High Performance plan across the national and Super Rugby programs, an overhaul of player pathways, and a renewed focus on the recruitment and retention of Australia’s best young rugby talent.

Introducing the review, Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle advised “12 months ago Rugby Australia completed a restructure of its High Performance environment and whilst we’ve made significant progress in a number of areas, the new structure is only in its early stages and still needs time to bed-in completely and show long-term results.

“The review of the recently-completed Wallabies season will be led by a three-member panel who combined will offer significant expertise and experience from both within and outside the sport, and from both an on and off-field perspective.

“Having (Howard, Hanson and Sharpe) leading the process will provide a well-rounded perspective on the Wallabies program and enable us to take forward any key learnings for delivery into the major tournament preparations of all of our national teams over the next four-year cycle.”

Image: Captain Michael Hooper leads the Wallabies. Courtesy of Facebook/Rugby Australia.

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