New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie kicks off tour with traditional welcome

by Iain Payten

New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie received a traditional indigenous welcome at Rugby Australia headquarters as he kicked off his first official duties on Tuesday.

Rennie flew into Sydney on Monday from his home base in Scotland, during a 10-day break from his coaching duties with Glasgow.

The 56-year-old Kiwi, who was appointed as the new Wallabies coach last month in the wake of Michael Cheika’s post-World Cup depature, will spend his time visiting Super Rugby clubs and meeting pathways coaching staff in Australia.

Rennie began his national tour with a day at head office, however, and along with wife Steph, the coach was welcomed with a indigenous smoking ceremony at RugbyAU’s Moore Park facility.

Rennie addressed Rugby Australia staff at a function afterwards, before spending the morning in meetings with management.

The new coach did not talk with media at the welcome ceremony, with Rennie due to give his first interview in Australia on FoxSports in a special Super Rugby launch show on Thursday, before doing an all-in media conference.

Rennie will attend Waratahs training on Wednesday at Daceyville, where he will catch up with current Test captain Michael Hooper.

He will then visit with the other Super Rugby coaches and players in the next week.

Rennie is due to move to Australia full-time in June, after his contract with Glasgow ends, but he is working closely with Rugby Australia director of rugby Scott Johnson while still abroad.

The former Chiefs coach said recently he is burning the midnight oil getting across Australian rugby while still coaching in the north.

Rennie and Johnson have appointed several members of the Wallabies coaching staff and management, with Scott Wisemantel (backs), Matt Taylor (defence), Dean Benton (high performance) and Chris Webb (general manager) all locked in for the future.