Wallabies' culture has changed since Dublin 2013

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies lock Kane Douglas says the national has come a long way in recent years, as they returned to Dublin for this weekend’s Ireland Test.

It was Ireland where a handful of players were punished after a night out in 2013, when Ewen McKenzie had taken the reins, but Douglas said he felt the team had changed since that tour.

“I was out that night. I suppose things had to change within the Wallabies culture and I think we've become more professional since then and that's probably not even going to happen,” he said.

“We haven't got any rules with Cheik anyway.

“There's no rules, we're all adults, but I don't think something like that would happen again anyway. - Kane Douglas

“It's been good from the leadership group and I feel like I'm getting pretty old now anyway, I'm 27, I've got a wife and kids and everyone just wants to be in the right position come Saturday that we can play our best footy.

“I think the Wallaby culture and a heap of the boys have grown a lot since then.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been quick to ensure that his players aren’t being distracted by the places they’re in, with their focus switched on to each week’s game.

“I think you still need to get out and about, you can't just be focused on rugby the whole time, you've got to go do other things and if you're in those cities, you've got to - I encourage boys to go see things on Wednesday, the day off,” Douglas said.

“Obviously you don't want to spend the whole day walking round so your legs are really tired or anything but at the same time you've got to embrace the country you're in and see some sights but make sure you're in the right position for the next day for training and then you've done everything you can for Saturday.” 

Ben Mowen was captain of the Wallabies on that 2013 tour, his last as a Test player and said returning to the fold as part of the WallabY XV to play a French Barbarians team in Bordeaux on Thursday night, he could feel a positive culture among the players.

“I don't really reflect on it too much because it was may have been seen to be a little bit bigger than it was, I don't think it was that big a deal,” he said.

“I think in a general sense you can see how much the team's grown.- Ben Mowen

“You're speaking to the guys and they're all very much moving in one direction and  I think that says a lot about the coaching and leadership set up that they've got going and…within the team where you can feel everyone's on the same page and I'm only talking about peeking through the window for a day here but you can really feel that it's really united.

“The general sense that I get is that they all know what they're trying to achieve and they've got a real strong culture about what they're trying to do.”

Ben Mowen captained the Wallabies in 2013. Photo: Getty ImagesMowen said that culture had shone through in Australia’s three Spring Tour wins so far, particularly the gripping France encounter.

“The three games in three weeks against that type of opposition, you can't achieve three wins unless you have real substance to what you're doing and I thought the win that impressed me the most was against the French because there was changes, there was debutants, Quade had to pull out with injury and Bernard was in and against what I consider to be the strongest French side that they have and a very, very good French side.

“It's a much different side to what it was two years ago and for them to get that win in the fashion that they did I think shows amazing character.

“To me, that's a really special win and  that's launched them on this ride that they’re on.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland on Saturday at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, kicking off at 4:30am AEDT LIVE on SBS and beIN Sports 3 (channel 515).

The Wallaby XV takes on the French Barbarians on Friday November 25, kicking off at 6:45am AEDT, live streamed on rugby.com.au.