One Percenters: "Internal and external" options for Wallabies attack coach, Gatland expected to lead Lions again

Rugby World Cup
by Beth Newman, Emma Greenwood and Iain Payten

Rugby Australia’s director of rugby Scott Johnson says “internal and external” candidates will be looked at as they work on appointing a Wallabies attack coach for the World Cup.

With just over four months to go until the Rugby World Cup, the Wallabies are yet to name a replacement for Stephen Larkham, who was moved on from the national set up in December last year.

Speaking on FOX SPORTS, Johnson said the right fit would probably become clearer after next weekend’s Wallabies camp in Brisbane and they were looking at a variety of options.

“We’re in a process,” he said.

“We’re looking internally and externally. Names are bouncing around and we’re just trying to see the options that fit and having a look what Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) does.

“We’ll be closer aligned after that camp.”

“It’d be nice to have it but they’re still involved in their provincial teams.

“It may be an internal candidate and Cheik’s got a way he wants to play.

“He’s there and that’s what he’s employed to do.

“He’ll have a greater role at the start but that doesn’t mean he won’t get help at the back end.”

In February, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said the organisation’s “preference was not to disturb Super Rugby”, something that could still hold true if the coach comes in post-Super Rugby.

Looking at Australia's Super Rugby franchises, there are a number of potential candidates.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson was Michael Cheika’s attack coach when NSW won the title in 2014 while assistant Chris Whitaker has also had a long association with the national coach.

Queensland attack coach Jim McKay has served as national attack coach previously and the Reds attack has improved since he returned to the club this season.

Peter Hewat is in charge of the backs at the Brumbies and has also recently been appointed the national U18s and schools coach moving forward.

Shaun Berne is the Rebels attack coach and has worked with a number of the current Wallabies group both in Melbourne and during his time at the Western Force

Brian Smith’s name has consistently returned to the conversation but it is unclear whether the Scots College rugby director would be able to step away from his current role mid-season.

Johnson all but ruled out himself stepping into any kind of coaching role, though, despite having fulfilled temporary roles at Scotland in his time there.

The former Wallabies attack coach said he wouldn’t be involving himself in the day to day coaching picture unless he was invited.

“I think it’s important you can’t have two masters,” he said.

“The team’s got to be looking at the one person and the one individual and I think it’s important for that. “If someone heeds my advice, I won’t be reticent to give it.

“I understand the parameters - I‘ve been doing this type of job for a while and I probably found it hard at the start but I’ve found a nice comfort level there and it’s important that the players and all the officials now where to look.”

Gatland to retain Lions job

Warren Gatland has named his Wales squad. Photo: Getty ImagesWarren Gatland's coaching future has been a hot topic of conversation in recent months but it seems the Wales coach has one future gig locked in.

Gatland will finish up as Welsh coach after the Rugby World Cup and has been touted as a possible successor to Steve Hansen at the All Blacks, Michael Cheika at the Wallabies or even as a potential replacement for Eddie Jones depending on England's World Cup finish.

The Kiwi, though, has reportedly verbally agreed to lead the British and Irish Lions on their next tour, in South Africa in 2021.

Gatland has been the Lions coach for the past two tours - a win in Australia in 2013 and a drawn series against New Zealand in 2017.

He was also a part of the coaching team for the multi-national side in their 2009 tour.

Hill to stay in Ballymore redevelopment

Mild panic set in at Ballymore last week when former Reds captain Scott Higginbotham was asked if he would miss anything at the fabled ground if the old facility was redeveloped.

"The hill will be flattened, so that will be sad, I think, there's a lot of history on that hill," Higginbotham said.

The answer sent officials into a spin given the iconic hill will not only be retained but enhanced in the $35 million revamp of the Herston grounds.

With the existing stands to be razed if the $35 million works go ahead, plans are for the hill to be extended to the east making for even more room for families.

Higginbotham, who will leave Ballymore after this season for a stint at Bordeaux, joked the only way he would still be around to enjoy the new facilities was if rehabilitation and medical services to be included in the planned National Rugby Training Centre could work miracles.

Brumbies make sure to put Mums front and centre on Monther's day

The Brumbies wore special Mother's Day jerseys on Sunday in a nod to the special women in their lives.

Each player played with their mother's name printed on the back of their specially-designed jersey on Sunday afternoon.

A nice nod to many of the women who were the taxis and the no. 1 fans for their sons as they pursued professional rugby careers.

Perenara warns against generalisations

TJ Perenara leads the haka. Photo: Getty ImagesHurricanes halfback TJ Perenara has hit back at a controversial Taniela Tupou Facebook post, warning against generalising when it comes to Pacific Island rugby players.

Taniela Tupou was caught up in the Israel Folau storm after he posted comments reacting to a story about Samu Kerevi "apologising" for his faith.

Tupou wrote on Facebook,"Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs.

"I will never apologise for my faith and what I believe in, religion had [sic] got nothing to do with rugby anyways #TYJ ".

Perenara, who has been vocal about his support for gay rights, warned against lumping all Pacific Island players together, in any category.

"For him to make a statement for everyone, I don't think that's right," he told Jim Kayes on Radio Sport. "He can certainly make his own statement if that's how he feels but you can't paint a brush over every single Māori or Pacific Islander who has any religious beliefs.

"You can't speak for everyone."

"It's obviously a tender subject for a lot of people and I just feel for especially the young people that get influenced by those words and who are trying to figure themselves out at the moment," he said.

"As leaders in our community, we need to empower those people and let them know that it's okay to be who you are, it's okay to feel the way you feel and that being you is okay.

"That's the message that we should be sending, that love and that unity and empowering people is what we should be doing."

McCaffrey's dad bod becomes official


Brumbies backrower Locky McCaffrey sat down with RUGBY.com.au this week and joked about his "Dad bod" making him a fan favourite in Super Rugby.

Well, now he has even more claim to a Dad bod, having become a Dad last weekend.

McCaffrey posted a pic on Instagram on Sunday night with his newborn daughter, Harper Felicity McCaffrey, who arrived just in time for Mother's Day.

"My little angel ‘Harper Felicity McCaffrey’," he wrote.

"10/5/2019 - Gorgeous Baby and Super mum @tashcain13 doing amazing!"

Horne given RPA honour

Former Wallaby and Waratah Rob Horne was honoured at last week's Rugby Players' Association Awards with the Blyth Spirit Award.

Thee Blyth Spirit award is given to a player that shows courage in the face of adversity.

Horne was forced into retirement after a catastrophic arm injury he suffered playing for Northampton against Leicester.

Rebels make light of printing error

The Rebels had a laugh at an unfortunate mistake in the paper. Photo: InstagramIn an AFL-stronghold state like Victoria any coverage of rugby is good coverage but the Rebels couldn't help but have a laugh at the Herald-Sun's expense this week.

The Melbourne paper published the Rebels lineup for Friday night's match - only problem? It was back to front.

In a post on their Instagram story, the Rebels teased out the logic, writing: "@teterafaulkner to fullback and @jmad_badman to hooker in team lineup shock! 😂" 

Always important to see the bright side of life.

Vale Micky Steele Bodger

The international rugby community is mourning the loss of Barbarian FC president Micky Steele-Bodger, a pillar of the iconic club.

Tributes flowed in from current and former Test players as news of Steele-Bodger's death spread late this week.

Sunshine Coast shocks established regions in Queensland schools champs

Sunshine Coast has caused an upset to take out the Queensland schools rugby championship, beating heavyweight Metropolitan East 18-17 in the Shield final.

While players from all GPS schools except St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace skipped the championships to concentrate instead on the Reds Academy pathway that feeds into Rugby Australia's official development channels, plenty of talent was on show at Sunnybank last weekend.

Isaiah Levi, from St Columban’s College at Caboolture, crossed for the winning points in the final, while Jasper Mellish finished with two penalties and a conversion to help the Sunshine Coast lads across the line.

Queensland named two sides for the national schools titles, including Keenan Timu, the younger brother of Reds player Caleb; Max Plath, the son of former Broncos league player John; and Nate Searle, the son of Titans founder Michael.

SQUADS

Queensland Schoolboys 

Queensland 1

Xavier Boyle, Gregory Terrace; Jonte Connolly, St Columban’s College; Cullen Cooper-Jones, All Saints Anglican School; Sam Dalton, Somerset College; Stewart Free, Pittsworth State High School; Liam Gee, Kings Christian College; Max Gow, Sunshine Coast Grammar School; Connor Knight, Siena Catholic College; James Livingstone, Villanova College; Jasper Mellish, Siena Catholic College; Taelyn Nukunuku, St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe; Ateili Pakalani, Mabel Park State High School; Max Plath, Iona College; Sam Pologa, Bray Park SHS; Taine Riori, John Paul College; Angus Sawtell, St Laurence’s College; Nate Searle, All Saints Anglican School; Fatai Tapuaka, Ipswich SHS; Keenan Timu, Marsden SHS; Emerson Treasure, Gregory Terrace; Michael van Rooyen, Downlands College; Will Webster, St Peters Lutheran College; Matthew Zeidler, Downlands College.

Queensland 2

Ezekiel Amituani, Gregory Terrace; Trent Back, Ormiston College; Lucas Boylan, Villanova College; John Bryant, St Laurence’s College; Tom Cregon, St Philomena College; Angus Dillman, Gregory Terrace; Patrick Elekana, Gregory Terrace; Tyler Fleming, St Laurence’s College; Will Fox, Caloundra SHS; Maconal Grealy, Downlands College; Noah Hartley, Marist College, Emerald; Jayden Hayes, Upper Coomera State College; Lytana King Tongia, Our Lady of the Southern Cross College; Ben Latu, Sunnybank SHS; Elemasi Latu, Sunnybank SHS; Hamish Muir, Villanova College; Montell Newman, Ipswich SHS; James Nichols, Kings Christian College; Connor O’Regan, St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe; Darcy Reed, Downlands College; Ben Rogers, Ambrose Tracey College; George Stokes, Villanova College; AJ Woulf, Chancellor State College.