Here’s Exactly What ‘Ordinary Joe’ Schmidt Will Bring To His Role As Wallabies Head Coach

With the Wallabies without a coach and clear identity, Joe Schmidt's appointment represents a major coup for RA.

Here’s Exactly What ‘Ordinary Joe’ Schmidt Will Bring To His Role As Wallabies Head Coach

Rugby Australia has confirmed the appointment of former All Blacks and Ireland coach, the self-titled “Ordinary Joe Schmidt, to replace the outgoing Eddie Jones following an embarrassing World Cup campaign; he could be exactly what the Wallabies need.

2023 was a year to forget for Rugby Australia and the calamitous missteps of the Wallabies. The swift dismissal of Dave Rennie for the ‘big name’ signing of Eddie Jones was a disaster and Australia bowed out of the Rugby World Cup in Paris as quickly as they entered.

Jones’ era will be stained by a litany of blunders including high-profile omissions of Australian rugby’s centurions, abrasive press conferences and the repeated lies spilled regarding the vacant Japan position… and that was just during his final weeks.

RELATED: Former Wallabies Captain, Michael Hooper, On World Cup Snub, Mental Health And Olympic Dreams

Image: AFP

The appointment of New Zealander Joe Schmidt, whilst safe (even boring), is a smart move by the RA hierarchy, who will no doubt want to put this past year behind them.

“I am conscious that the Wallabies have weathered a difficult period,” Schmidt said. “And I am keen to help them build a way forward, with greater alignment and clear direction from RA.”

A self-proclaimed “Ordinary Joe,” Schmidt represents an instant departure from the outspoken exploits during the previous reign. One of Schmidt’s many strengths as one of rugby’s best tacticians of the last decade is his commitment to keeping his head down and letting the rugby do the talking.

During his Irish tenure, the Kiwi coach propelled the national side forward, battling England and Wales to secure the Six Nations three times and a Grand Slam in 2018, during a seven-year stint. He garnered a reputation for developing the country’s best young players such as Robbie Henshaw and Jacob Stockdale, as well as more established players in Tadhg Furlong, and was praised as an effective communicator to his sides.

RELATED: Wallabies Fans ‘Rip Eddie Jones A New One’ After Not So Shocking Japan Announcement

One area that the team will be desperate to improve is its sub-par performances in the Bledisloe Cup – an annual competition between Australia and perennial rivals, New Zealand. The Wallabies haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup for more than 20 years, and Australian rugby fans are desperate to finally get one over their neighbours to stop the enduring rot.

Ironically, it was an Eddie Jones-led Australia side that last lifted the coveted local trophy, beating the All Blacks 16-14 in front of 80,000 fans in Sydney.

“There’s too much emphasis on the World Cup already. Our bread and butter is all around the Six Nations and I love the Six Nations,” Schmidt once said during his Irish reign. The new Wallabies coach’s emphasis on rugby’s biggest national cup in the region will be music to Wallabies fans’ ears, who will undoubtedly look to get one up on their local rivals at the earliest opportunity.

Image: Getty

“Joe has delivered success at every stop in his career,” Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh said. “Given our stated plan to build a unified Australian Rugby system, Joe’s experience with Ireland and New Zealand – two of the most aligned Rugby nations in the world – will no doubt prove valuable as we move forward.”

“He has a global view of the game from his experience in both the northern and southern hemispheres and his appointment puts us in a strong position as we build towards the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour.”

An exciting prospect of matching up against the British and Irish Lions, led by his former Ireland assistant Andy Farell, in July, represents the perfect opportunity to see how quickly Schmidt’s able to change the fortunes of a team that looks bereft of confidence and without a clear identity.

Schmidt’s ability to mould a team in his image will be profounding useful to this struggling Wallabies side, and his appointment, whilst boring, represents a major coup for Rugby Australia.