Rugby: Deans names new coaching staff

Robbie Deans. Photo / Paul Estcourt  Photo / Paul Estcourt
Robbie Deans. Photo / Paul Estcourt Photo / Paul Estcourt

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has unveiled a new-look coaching staff and says player management will be the main challenge facing Australia when they face Scotland and Wales in a series of Test matches in June.

Deans announced on Monday that Tony McGahan will join him as coaching-coordinator, Andrew Blades as forwards coach and Nick Scrivener as coaching assistant.

They take the place of dumped assistants Jim Williams and Phil Blake, who have been moved on after last year's failed World Cup campaign.

The Wallabies face Scotland on a Tuesday in Newcastle, before lining-up against Wales four days later in Brisbane on Saturday.

To make the turnaround even tighter, there's a Super Rugby round preceding the Scotland Test, meaning NSW, Melbourne and Brumbies squad members might be forced to back up just days after playing for their province.

Deans said he would have just one training session with his full squad before the Newcastle fixture, however Queensland and Western Force players selected will have a bit longer together as they have a Super Rugby bye.

Former Wallaby Blades said he's excited at the prospect of returning for his second stint as Australian forwards coach, after previously serving back in 2004.

Deans said Blades brought plenty of pride in the Wallaby jersey and his job would chiefly be working on Australia's set-piece play at scrums and line-outs.

Former Brumbies player Scrivener has had experience coaching in Scotland and Deans believes his knowledge on the northern hemisphere side could prove valuable.

Scrivener will take over day-to-day jobs associated with being Wallabies coach, freeing Deans up to focus more on the bigger picture.

Meanwhile, McGahan is currently finishing up his duties at top Irish province Munster and has previous experience coaching in Japan and Queensland.

In the newly created role, McGahan will have significant involvement in the overall coordination of the coaching and management team and will assist Deans.

Either as a coach or in his profession as school teacher, McGahan has had much to do with the likes of Rocky Elsom, David Pocock, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Richard Brown.

Deans said the previous coaching staff hadn't failed, pointing to their Tri-Nations success, but that change was necessary.

After one Test against Scotland, Australia play three Tests against Wales.

- AAP

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