Wallabies’ Schmidt a great rugby mind: All Blacks coach

Melissa Woods |

Joe Schmidt has been tasked with rebuilding the Wallabies after the disastrous 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Joe Schmidt has been tasked with rebuilding the Wallabies after the disastrous 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies are in good hands with new coach Joe Schmidt, All Blacks mentor Scott Robertson says, and he’s expecting Australia to bounce back for the annual Bledisloe Cup battle.

Both nations have replaced their coach since the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with Robertson taking over from Ian Foster despite New Zealand falling by just one point in the final against South Africa.

The Wallabies had a horror show in France; failing for the first time to make it out of their pool, with Eddie Jones paying the price for their early exit.

Jones made some wild selection choices while the inexperienced cohort appeared clueless on the field.

New Zealander Schmidt, who was part of the All Blacks coaching set-up in France, was last week announced as Jones’s replacement.

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson.
Joe Schmidt’s arrival is good news for the Wallabies, says All Blacks coach Scott Robertson (pic). (Ben McKay/AAP PHOTOS)

Robertson said the veteran coach is the right man at the right time for the Wallabies.

“He’s got a great CV – he’s a good pair of hands and is experienced so it’s good timing for Australia and him,” Robertson told Stan Sport on Tuesday while attending the Australian Open.

“There’s no outs. You’ll know where you need to be on the field and know what the expectations are of you.

“He’s a great rugby mind. He’ll be clear.”

Dates and venues for the two-Test 2024 Bledisloe Cup series – one in Australia and one in New Zealand – are yet to be announced, with the Wallabies looking to break a drought lasting more than 20 years.

Wallabies player Bernard Foley (left) and referee Mathieu Raynal.
A controversial late call from official Mathieu Raynal denied the Wallabies Bledisloe glory in 2022. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Despite the gulf in World Cup performances, former Crusaders title-winning coach Robertson expects Australia to be competitive.

The Wallabies have lost two of their past four Bledisloe Tests by three points or fewer, suffering heartbreak in Melbourne in 2022 after a controversial late call by referee Mathieu Raynal.

“It’s been a long time since you held it up, but there’s periods in games – a famous moment back here, our French friend … it can swing quite quickly,” Robertson said.

“It comes down to the passion on both sides, it’s really clear every time you see it played.

“The importance on the night, it’s really critical, doesn’t matter what form.”

Wallabies player Dave Porecki throws the ball at training.
Dave Porecki has signed a two-year extension to remain in Australia until the end of 2026. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Hooker Dave Porecki, the last Wallabies captain under Jones, has re-committed to Australian rugby until at least the end of 2026.

Already contracted until the end of this year, the 31-year-old will hope to add to his 19 Test caps over two-year extension.

Porecki led the Wallabies in three of their four pool games at the World Cup, replacing injured skipper Will Skelton.