‘We can have a great force’: Parling eager to bring best out of Wallabies ahead of potential Lions reunion

Thu, Apr 18, 2024, 4:30 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
New Wallabies assistant Geoff Parling is ready to turn around the team's fortunes. Photo: Nick Holland/RA Media
New Wallabies assistant Geoff Parling is ready to turn around the team's fortunes. Photo: Nick Holland/RA Media

New Wallabies assistant coach Geoff Parling is confident the pieces are there to create a dominant world-class pack as he finalises Joe Schmidt's coaching staff.

The Rebels' assistant will join Schmidt and the Wallabies at the end of the Super Rugby season ahead of the opening Test against Wales in July.

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The pair met during Schmidt's visits to the different Super Rugby clubs, with Parling impressed by his vision.

“I spoke to Joe a couple times when he came to the Rebels, heard a lot of good things about Joe in the past so I’m really excited to work with him on the coaching team," he said.

“He’s very level-headed, consistently sees the game and preps well. I think he’s good on (the) basics and getting the fundamentals right. Once you get those, a little bit of brilliance will come.

“...I’m pretty familiar with the majority of players that will come in from either coaching or coaching against them regularly. I feel like the little bits of differences we have in Super Rugby teams can be well put together and aligned we can have a great force as a forward pack at the Wallabies.”

Parling has been involved with the Rebels as a forwards coach for the past six years and is credited for turning their set-piece fortunes around.

The club finished in the top three for lineout efficiency in four of the last five years under the former English international, operating at close to 90% in 2023 before multiple games losing both hookers significantly decreased their percentage.

Parling brings a unique knowledge to the coaching staff, selected in all three Tests for the British and Irish Lions' last tour of Australia in 2013.

The former lock remains focused on finishing the season with the Rebels on a high but recognised the significance of next year's tour.

“It’s an exciting time, it’s an opportunity once every 12 years to bring them here and a brilliant experience for everyone involved," he remarked.

“I’m really looking to it but there’s a hell of a lot of work to get through before then.

Parling also backed prop Taniela Tupou to return to his damaging best, with the first Test of the year less than three months away.

The Wallaby wrecking ball is slowly returning to his best form, proving an impactful game-winner in the final half-hour of games as the Rebels march into the top four.

“He’s slowly found his feet and found some good form for us," Parling believes.

“We’ve seen how destructive his scrummaging can be so it’s probably a testament to Sam Talakai that we haven’t had to start him early doors.

“We’ve seen the best in 'Nela starting to develop and hopefully that develops throughout the rest of the year.”

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