How new Wallabies coach plans to win over fans
Kiwi Dave Rennie knows dismayed fans wanted an Aussie coach for the Wallabies but he's all-in to get the results to sway them over the next four years.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said on Tuesday that Rennie's proven record as a Super Rugby-winning coach and team culture-builder made the appointment a clear call.
Castle also repeated her brutal assessment that a world-class foreign coach was appointed from a field of six or seven "given we didn't have an Australian candidate."
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The harsh reality that the Australian system has not developed a single worthy candidate for this plum role during the five years of Michael Cheika's reign is an embarrassing failure. Castle revealed that England's Aussie coach Eddie Jones had been canvassed "behind the scenes" before the recent Rugby World Cup, but his ongoing commitment to England ruled him out.
Rennie has a 20-year coaching resume but his reputation is built on the back-to-back titles in 2012-13 that shook the Chiefs from their reputation as underperformers.
In a video interview for Rugby Australia, Rennie tackled all the big issues on his exciting new role once he finishes with Scotland's Glasgow Warriors in June.
He had a realistic and reassuring take on how Aussies would accept him after Australia's previous coaching marriage to a Kiwi ended in tears with Robbie Deans (2008-13).
"I get it. I think Australians want their national team coached by an Australian," Rennie said.
"I'm OK with that. I know they care about their team.
"All I can say is that everywhere I've gone I've immersed myself in the community and culture.
"I guess we'll be judged by what we do, not what I say now, but I assure you I care about the future of Australian rugby."
Rennie revealed his conversations with Rugby Australia had been going on for months, not just in the weeks since the Wallabies' crashlanding in the World Cup quarter-finals last month.
"The big thing was I'd been talking to Australia for a lot of months and the interest from the All Blacks (to be a coaching contender) came late in the piece," Rennie said.
"By that stage, we'd done a lot of homework and were really excited about coming to Australia, so it ended up an easy decision."
England's skills coach Scott Wisemantel and Scotland's defence coach Matt Taylor, both Aussies, will be two top candidates when Rennie assembles a revamped coaching and management team.
Rennie gave his pitch on what brand of rugby to expect from a Wallabies side which won just 10 of 23 Tests across Cheika's final seasons of 2018-19.
"With the teams I coach, it's a high-skill, high-speed type of game, hopefully mixed with some rugby smarts and a bit of brutality," Rennie said.