Tough road ahead for Wallabies: ARU boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tough road ahead for Wallabies: ARU boss

By Adrian Warren 20/05/2003 05:58:56 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill warned the Wallabies had a big job ahead of them after the country's reputation as a defensive world leader was severely dented in this year's Super 12 tournament.

O'Neill said no-one should pretend Australia's three provincial teams had a good campaign.

He pointed to the defensive deficiencies of the three Australian teams, whose combined points against tally of 975 was easily the country's worst performance in Super 12 history.

For the first time, all three Australian teams gave up over 300 points, a far cry from the last World Cup year in 1999 when two of the three allowed under 200 points and they collectively conceded only 613 points.

"We came fourth (ACT), fifth (NSW) and eighth (Queensland), so it looks all right on the league table, but I think with all three teams there was disappointment about not just the results, but how they lost," O'Neill said today.

"I think our defensive records were very poor and for a rugby country over the last four or five years where we set the benchmark on defensive patterns, we certainly allowed that reputation to be severely dented this year.

"So I think (national coach) Eddie Jones and his team management group have a big job in front of them."

He had confidence in the Wallabies' defensive coach John Muggleton to fix the problem.

"He (Muggleton) has been partly responsible for setting the benchmark around the world and everyone ran off and got off a rugby league defence coach," O'Neill said.

"We just probably didn't pay enough attention to it at the Super 12 level, but I think John Muggleton with his particular skills and unique ways of getting the message across will ensure that the Wallabies' defensive pattern is back to where to it should be."

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