Wallabies must lift: ARU boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies must lift: ARU boss

By Adrian Warren 28/06/2010 06:59:03 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill wants the stuttering Wallabies to lift their success rate to over 70 per cent and says they will need to improve "substantially" if they want to be a serious Tri-Nations contender next month.

The Wallabies finished the inbound part of their Test campaign with wins against Fiji and Ireland as well as splitting their two Tests against England.

The inconsistency that has marred the tenure of coach Robbie Deans was evident in the last couple of performances after promising early season efforts against Fiji and the first match against England.

Almost two-and-a-half years into his reign, New Zealander Deans has a win-loss ratio of around 56 per cent and O'Neill said inconsistency was a worry.

"We're not far away, we can't pretend a 56 per cent win-loss ratio is acceptable and we've got to find a way of winning consistently and get that up to over 70 per cent," he said on Monday.

O'Neill said Australia's first four Tests of the year had produced some good and some not-so-good play.

The ARU boss acknowledged plenty of injuries to key players had hurt the Wallabies, who now face a lull of close to a month before starting their Tri-Nations campaign against South Africa in Brisbane on July 24.

"Given the injuries, I think it's acceptable (start to the season), but we need to improve substantially if we're going to be a genuine competitor in the Tri-Nations," O'Neill said.

He said Australia definitely aspired to winning their first Tri-Nations title since 2001 and regaining the Bledisloe Cup from New Zealand, which the All Blacks have had a stranglehold on for eight years.

The ARU boss suggested the Wallabies needed to adopt a more uncompromising attitude and develop a killer instinct.

"We are not talking about bringing about the biff or anything like that ... it's being uncompromising and being consistently uncompromising," he said.

O'Neill will meet with Deans and ARU high performance manager David Nucifora on Tuesday, but stressed it had been scheduled way back in January and was definitely not a crisis meeting.

"It's a mini-review. We've had four Tests, how are we travelling, what's good, what's not so good," he said.

O'Neill emphasised the need for the Wallabies to combine winning and entertaining.

"Winning is No.1. Entertaining is No.2, but a very close No.2," he said.

O'Neill was "pretty indifferent" to the news Mark Gasnier was returning to rugby league after two seasons of club rugby in France.

He said Gasnier hadn't been a "must sign player" for the ARU and it was never going to enter into a bidding war for his services with French rugby and NRL clubs.

While former NRL star Sonny Bill Williams accepted a large pay cut to sign with the New Zealand Rugby Union, O'Neill said he had no doubt that the current batch of Wallabies put their Australian jersey before their financial considerations.

O'Neill said crowds for the first four Tests of the year had been "not bad" but not as good as he would have liked.

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