Qantas Wallabies coaching staff finalised for 2012

The appointments of Tony McGahan, Andrew Blades and Nick Scrivener has completed the Qantas Wallabies coaching team for the upcoming 2012 Castrol EDGE Rugby Series, which includes the inaugural Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship featuring Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa.

McGahan will return to Australia in the newly created position as the Qantas Wallabies Coaching Coordinator once he completes his duties at the top Irish province Munster.

The Queenslander has been in charge of Munster for the last four seasons having initially landed in Ireland in 2005. He had previously coached Japanese club IBM after having begun his career in Queensland where he coached both the Nudgee College and Churchie first XVs, and the Easts club in first grade, prior to heading overseas.

The former Physical Education teacher is no stranger to some leading Wallabies players.

He coached both ex-skipper Rocky Elsom and fellow loose forward Richard Brown at Nudgee College, taught star flanker David Pocock in the classroom at Brisbane’s Anglican Church Grammar, while later mentoring current Wallabies captain James Horwill and fellow team regulars winger Digby Ioane and hooker Tatafu Polota Nau, during his time as coaching coordinator of the Australian Under-19 side.

McGahan’s experience as a head coach is considered a major asset for the newly created role, where he will have a significant involvement in the overall coordination of the coaching and management team, as well as the player liaison, assisting head coach Robbie Deans.

Former Wallaby Blades takes over as the team’s forwards coach, returning to the position for a second time after a wide-ranging career which has also included experience with both the Brumbies and the Newcastle Falcons in the English Premiership.

Blades assisted Eddie Jones and then David Nucifora during his time on the Brumbies coaching staff.

This was followed by two seasons in the Northern Hemisphere from 2002-04 where he was forwards coach for the Newcastle Falcons in England’s club Premiership. He returned to Australia take up a forward-orientated coaching position with the Wallabies in 2004.

A Rugby World Cup-winner as a player in 1999, Blades moved into coaching at the conclusion of an on-field career that included 32 Test appearances for Australia between 1996 and 1999 – a period which included the 3-0 Bledisloe Cup series win in 1998 and Australia’s second Rugby World Cup success a year later.

He also played 47 matches for the NSW Waratahs between 1992 and 1999, with that career split by one season with the Queensland Reds in 1995 when he featured in the state’s Super 10 championship-winning side.

Blades will have responsibility for both the scrum and lineout as part of his duties.

Scrivener, who has coached at both the Brumbies and in Scotland, joins the Wallabies for the first time as the team’s Coaching Assistant.

A product of Canberra and a foundation member of the Brumbies playing squad in 1996, Scrivener arrived back in Australia last year to take up the head coaching position within the Australian Rugby Union’s Academy programme.

This followed a two-year stint in Europe where he was head coach of both the Rabo Direct Pro 12 (formerly Celtic League) club Edinburgh, as well as the Scotland A side.

Prior to his departure, Scrivener was a part of the Brumbies coaching staff for 10 seasons, working alongside experienced coaches in firstly Eddie Jones, and then David Nucifora, during the height of the club’s success between 2000 and 2004 when the side won two Super Rugby titles while also making another final.

Scrivener has previously been involved coaching at a national level as an assistant backline/attack coach on the staff of the Australian Under-21 and Australia A teams.

The Qantas Wallabies squad for the June Test matches will be announced when the preliminary group of Queensland Reds and Western Force players assemble in Sydney on Monday 28 May.

Playing contingents from the Melbourne Rebels, Brumbies and NSW Waratahs will come into camp after they complete their Super Rugby commitments the following weekend.

An initial group of 34 players will be named, with this being trimmed back to 30 once the opening Test of the year, which is being played midweek, is completed.

The international season begins when Hunter Stadium at Newcastle makes its debut as a Test venue on Tuesday 5 June as the Qantas Wallabies hosts Scotland for the Hopetoun Cup.

This match will be followed four days later by the first of three Tests for the James Bevan Trophy against the new Six Nations champions Wales.

Warren Gatland’s Grand Slam-winning side play Tests in Brisbane (9 June), Melbourne (16 June) and an afternoon Test complete with a Fan Day beforehand at Allianz Stadium in Sydney (23 June).

This will replicate last year’s successful fan day which was held in Sydney before the opening Test of 2011 against Samoa.

The inaugural Rugby Championship, which kicks off after the conclusion of Super Rugby in August, opens with back-to-back Bledisloe Cup Tests in Sydney (18 August) and Auckland (25 August).

These are followed by home-and-away Tests against each of South Africa and the tournament newcomers, Argentina.

South Africa will appear in Perth on 8 September, with Skilled Park on the Gold Coast being welcomed as a new Test venue a week later on 15 September, when last year’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinalist Argentina appears on Australian soil for the first time since the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

The 15-Test Wallabies programme concludes with a Spring Tour which includes Tests against France, England, Italy and Wales.

The trip will be preceded by the eighth and final Test on Australian soil for the year, when the Qantas Wallabies battle the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 20 October.

2012 Qantas Wallabies Coaching & Management Team

Head Coach: Robbie Deans

Coaching Coordinator: Tony McGahan*

Forwards Coach: Andrew Blades*

Coaching Assistant: Nick Scrivener*

Strength & Conditioning Coach: Ashley Jones*

Manager: Bob Egerton

Logistics Manager: Matt Sheppard*

Doctor: Dr Warren MacDonald

Physiotherapist: Andrew Ryan

Analyst: Andrew Sullivan

Media Manager: Matt McILraith

*denotes new member of the management team

tags Wallabies, Robbie Deans

About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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