ZB

Dave Rennie speaks out after Australia's Super Rugby bombshell

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 1:50pm
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie. Photo / Photosport
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie. Photo / Photosport

Dave Rennie speaks out after Australia's Super Rugby bombshell

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 1:50pm

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie fears for the development of Australian players if the Super Rugby Pacific competition is axed.

Reports last week that Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McClennan's preference – for financial reasons – beyond next year's transtasman club competition was a solely Australian league caught Rennie off guard.

While Rennie said he understood "innovative thinker" McLennan's stance from a "commercial point of view" he didn't support the prospect of the Super Rugby Pacific competition – whose maiden season ended on the weekend with the Crusaders beating the Blues in an all-New Zealand grand final – being trashed.

"I think it's good for both countries that we play transtasman footy," the New Zealand-born Wallabies mentor said from the Sunshine Coast, where he is preparing Australia for next month's three-test series against England.

"The competition has been excellent this year and our (Australian) sides have certainly been more competitive.

"It's good for them, (and) it's good for us, so I'd like to see that (Super Rugby Pacific) continue.

"It's got some the best players in the world. You want to be playing the best players. That's how we'll get better and be challenged.

"We've just got to make sure that financially it's beneficial as well. I'm supportive of the competition continuing, but that's not my call."

Three Australian teams – the Brumbies, NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds – reached the Super Rugby Pacific finals series.

But with the Reds and the Waratahs being knocked out in the quarter-finals, and the Brumbies losing their semifinal, Rennie was able to call on his entire 35-man Wallabies squad for the start of the camp last Thursday.

"From our point of view, it's good that we've had a little bit extra time together, but we certainly want our boys playing in finals," Rennie said.

"The tougher and the further they go on in competition, the better."

Rennie said there had been no discussion in camp about moving star flyhalf James O'Connor to fullback to cater for the presence of fellow playmakers Quade Cooper and Noah Lolesio in Australia's squad.

"It's a chance, (but) we've got a few fallback options even within the squad," he said.

"Tom Banks plays it (fullback) regularly, Jordan Petaia's played a little bit, Andrew Kellaway's played test footy there as well … I'm not saying it's not possible, but he (O'Connor) hasn't played any fullback this year (for the Reds)."