Highs and lows, cheers and boos – all part of the demanding job

Bob Dwyer: July 4, 1982, v Scotland, Brisbane Scotland 12 def Wallabies 7
Nanjing Night Net

One of my most vivid recollections of that Test was the sad memory of a Queensland rugby crowd booing the Wallabies as they ran on the pitch because of the inclusion of [Randwick players] Mark and Glen Ella and the exclusion of [local heroes] Paul McLean and Roger Gould, which was sad in the extreme. I can’t remember being nervous but what I can remember on reflection was that I certainly tried to do too much too soon. Back then three days was all you had for your Test preparation with the team, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I probably didn’t prepare the team well. The Wallabies forward pack who were all Queenslanders were outplayed by Scotland but perhaps a major contributing factor to that was that they were worn out from the practice. In the preparation for the second Test, I was much, much lighter with the forwards in their preparation and in fact gave them one day off and concentrated on the backs. I was a bit naive and thought I could change the world in three days and I found out you couldn’t.

Rod Macqueen: November 1, 1997, v Argentina, Beunos Aires Wallabies 23 def Pumas 15

It was probably tougher that my first Test as Wallabies coach was an away game. Having said that, it was against Argentina and not the All Blacks. But the reality is we lost the next Test and losing that next one probably contributed more to the thinking and direction of the side than the first Test did, because it pointed out a lot of the frailties in our game plan and team. It also showed me how fine the line is between looking for longer term achievement and the more immediate goal of beating the opposition. A lot of the things we were concentrating on in Argentina were the part of the long term project and had I had the time again I might have concentrated a bit more on winning that second Test than thinking too far ahead. You’re always nervous leading into these matches but you have to try to keep that out of it. Your role is to be as calm as possible and make decisions that are actually going to help the team. The team knows if they’re losing at half-time, what you have to tell them is what they have to do to win.

Eddie Jones: July 28, 2001, v Springboks, Loftus Versfeld Springboks 20 def Wallabies 15

It was a difficult time because players had just come off the Lions series, the players were reasonably tired and there was a change in coach. John Eales had told me that week that he was going to retire at the end of the series, so it was an interesting week trying to get the team up for the game while knowing myself that their captain was on his way out.

The only thing that changes as national coach is after the game. If you win, it’s fantastic but if you lose, everyone knows about it and the pressure is enormous. The South Africa, New Zealand and England jobs are the only ones that have as much pressure on them as the Australian job. Over our Test history, we’ve averaged a 52 per cent win rate so you’re going to lose four out of every 10 games. That’s a reality you have to deal with. Then there’s the media pressure and the pressure you find from people outside. You lose your personal life over that period.

John Connolly: June 11, 2006, v England, Telstra Stadium Wallabies 34 def England 3

We met a really experienced England side in this Test. Since taking over the coaching we’d spent a lot of time discussing where Australia was at. The same side had played for a number of years, they were getting older and we knew we had to make some hard decisions. We’d lost seven or eight games in a row if I remember correctly so we thought we couldn’t do the same thing again. We changed the whole front row, bringing in Rodney Blake, Greg Holmes and Tai McIsaac. We stayed out at Homebush the night before and I remember watching those three walking around in shorts and thongs the day of the match thinking ‘I am sure people don’t realise this is the Australian front row’. It’s always important to win. Practising losing is not fun at all. You make decisions about how you’re going to play the game … but it is very different when you are running the whole show. You have the final say on everything, the buck stops with you.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation