New Wallaroos coach to start with clean slate

Womens Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Dwayne Nestor will take the Wallaroos into the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, and he'll be taking the role with a clean slate in mind.

Nestor, a former Perth Spirit coach and an assistant with the Wallaroos last season, takes over from long-time women's mentor Paul Verrell, as a new World Cup cycle begins in earnest.

The Wallaroos program has shifted focus, with the women's XVs completely aligned with the high performance department and programs like the Australia U20s, giving it a more elite focus, as opposed the grassroots type approach of the past.

That in itself is a big development for the Wallaroos, who will also receive Test match payments for the first time in 2018, under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Nestor said taking the reins this far out from the World Cup gave him a chance start fresh with a new generation of players.

"It's good to have time where we can build a program and that will be a building process," he said.

"We pretty much start from scratch now, so it's open slather for selection in the Wallaroos squad.

"It's a good thing for the girls to have that attitude where they can show what they can do with a clean slate.

WA-based Nestor has been a part of the WA pathway for more than a decade, working with the Western Force, junior representative teams and club rugby with Cottesloe.

He will be assisted by Moana Virtue, who is a rising star in the coaching world, having become the first women in more than a decade to complete an elite coaching course last year. 

Nestor said he was looking forward to taking on the job, ahead of the World Cup,a tournament, for which Australia has lofty goals.

Rugby Australia's head of XVs national programs, Adrian Thompson, said the women had a top-four finish in their sights.

"Certainly our goal for the Wallaroos is to finish top four at the World Cup and beat teams that are currently in the top five," he said.

"I went round to see all the girls last week and it doesn't sound a lot, moving from six into the top four, but as you would've seen at the World Cup there's a pretty significant difference between the top five sides and where we finished at sixth.

"I think off the back of that, women's rugby in general's going to continue to grow and we should see that the work that gets done in Super W is filtered down and our club competitions become bigger and more organised."