The New Zealand system of Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen has been a significant part of the revival of All Blacks rugby over the past two years.
With the ARU in the process of appointing a new Wallabies coach the organisation is contemplating following the blueprint adopted by New Zealand. Former Wallabies captain, and two-time World Cup winner, John Eales said Australia was at its best when it had capable assistants to the head coach.
However, former All Blacks coach John Hart warned of the pitfalls in adopting such a scheme. “It won’t just automatically work somewhere else,” he said. “It depends on the talents and the capabilities of the coaches involved. You need to have coaches who have a rapport with one another and have a similar vision and ideas on the way they want the game to be played.”
The system worked for the All Blacks because Henry, the head coach, was able to delegate authority to two men who were good international coaches in their own right. Smith is a former All Blacks coach and Hansen succeeded Henry as coach of Wales.
“The ARU can’t say what structure they want and then tell the coach to implement it. It has to be the other way around – the coach has to be in charge of it,” Hart also warned.
The ARU has decided on the structure it would like but is not prepared to disclose that. “We don’t plan to mirror exactly the way New Zealand are doing things,” ARU high performance general manager Peter Davis said. “We know the structure we want and will negotiate with the new coach before we make a final decision,” he said.