Schmidt embracing 'unique' Wallabies challenge with countdown underway for opening Wales Test

Thu, Jun 6, 2024, 7:25 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt spoke to the media outside Optus Stadium during his recent visit to Perth to watch the Western Force.

Joe Schmidt is welcoming the 'unique' challenge of getting the best of the Wallabies as the countdown to the Test calendar begins.

It is exactly one month until the new Wallabies coach will take charge in his opening game against Wales in Sydney on July 6.

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Schmidt comes in as one of the most experienced and successful coaches in World Rugby, recently helping New Zealand to the World Cup Final as an assistant after a decade of dominance with Ireland.

“Every challenge is unique and I think coaching the Wallabies is going to be unique but I think my past experiences they’re always useful," Schmidt told Wallabies Media.

“They are just experiences but aren’t solutions. They don’t drive a particular direction but they allow a few different perspectives that have leaked into the lens of how I view the game from and the people who play the game.

“I think that’s all useful when you look at a group of athletes to get players together in the most cohesive fashion to make sure they enjoy the experience and understand the experiences is going to be important."

The former Irish boss will name his first squad in the coming weeks, with a wider satellite group of players from the Force and Waratahs already in training.

It leaves Schmidt with limited time to build a cohesive unit with the Rugby Championship and a stacked Spring Tour on the horizon.

“To get a team operating as a really positive unit. That’s a massive challenge,” he explained.

“I think you’ve got to get your playing group together, get alongside your other staff, determine what the best direction is to go and then try and really build some trademarks.

“Any team that doesn’t have a solid set piece is going to be vulnerable and any team that doesn’t look after the ball or a strategy around where they want to go, how they want to deliver the game will be inconsistent if you don’t have that clarity.”

He has spent the majority of his time as Wallabies coach travelling around to the respective clubs in order to get the best out of them, with the Queensland Reds, ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels into the Super Rugby Pacific finals.

“Getting around the clubs has been really beneficial to me and hopefully the Super club coaches have got something out of it as well," he added.

“I’m hoping it’s conducive to the continuity of player performance so they come out of Super and flow into Wallabies rather than completely reframing things.

“It doesn’t mean those teams play the same way, it just means players have an expectation around how they need to perform."

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