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John Connolly appointed Head Coach of Qantas Wallabies

February 02, 2006 - 11:30am
Story by: ARU
Qantas Wallaby Head Coach - John Connolly

Qantas Wallaby Head Coach - John Connolly

Listen to Gary Flowers at the press conference (mp3 file - 1MB)
Listen to John Connolly at the press conference (mp3 file - 740kb)

The Australian Rugby Union has announced the appointment of John Connolly as Head Coach to lead the Qantas Wallabies to Rugby Word Cup 2007.

Connolly, who has had professional coaching experience with the Queensland Reds, Stade Francais, Swansea and most recently Bath will head a new look structure designed to address key areas identified for improvement.

A more streamlined coaching management team will consist of John Connolly as Head Coach presiding over a new structure of an attack coach, a defence coach and a restarts coach.

Negotiations with candidates below the Head Coach position are ongoing.

ARU Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Gary Flowers says the appointment of the new team combines the vast experience of John Connolly and others with proven skills and innovation in critical areas of the game.

“Over the past two months we have identified where we need to go. I am very pleased to announce today that John Connolly will head the coaching team to take us there. We certainly have the players, now we have a Head Coach with the right skills to get the Wallabies back in a winning vein.�

“John’s experience in Australia and overseas, his approach to the game and his ability to lead a specialist team made him the outstanding choice.�

“The ARU received a large number of applications and we cast a broad net. Given the challenges we face, a John Connolly led coaching team is the fresh start Australian rugby needs.�

The new Qantas Wallaby Head Coach says he’s under no illusions about the magnitude of the job ahead.

“I don’t mind a challenge and they don’t come bigger than winning a World Cup. It’s a great privilege to coach the national team. We’ve got 20 Test matches to get the team in a winning position.�

“I am focused on the positives. I will have the benefit of a new coaching structure and what will be an excellent coaching team around me. Super 14 provides the opportunity to look at more players than we have in the past with greater competition for places. The work of the High Performance Unit and the selection Panel has also given me a head start with the work they have been doing over the past two months.�

“We are also fortunate that our four Super 14 teams are very well coached. I look forward to working with the provinces in the next 18 months to ensure our mutual goals are achieved.

“We do need to think about the game differently and I think the coaching structure we are looking at is innovative. Importantly, with the right people in place it will address the key problems.� Connolly said.

Mr Flowers also announced that former Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen will continue as a Rugby Advisor to the ARU.

“Rod has made an outstanding contribution to the coach selection process and he has had an ongoing role since June last year with a number of projects. Rugby needs to retain its intellectual property. Rod’s ongoing involvement makes a lot of sense.

John Connolly’s first day in the office is this Monday February 6th. 

Coaching Career Highlights

1994       Super Ten                    Qld Reds Champions
1995       Super Ten                    Qld Reds Champions
1996       Super 12                      Qld Reds Minor Premiers
1999       Super 12                      Qld Reds Minor Premiers
2000       French Champs         Stade Francais Premiers
2001       Heineken Cup            Stade Francais Finalists
2003/04  Zurich Premiership   Bath Minor Premiers/Finalists
2003/04  Zurich Premiership   Coach of the Year Award
2004/05  Powergen Cup           Bath Finalists

John Connolly's full profile

An announcement on the remainder of the coaching team is expected in the coming weeks.

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