New coach Rennie demands fitter, faster Wallabies

SYDNEY (AFP) – Newly appointed Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said yesterday that Australia players need to be fitter and quicker to challenge top teams, and the New Zealander wants to see results quickly.

The 56-year-old recently ended a four-year spell at Glasgow Warriors to replace Michael Cheika, who left after Australia’s World Cup quarter-final exit last year.

Ordinarily, he would have debuted as an international coach next week against Ireland in Brisbane, but those plans were wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic.

He has been holed up for the past fortnight in quarantine in Auckland with no firm date for his arrival in Australia and uncertainty about the international calendar.

Doubts remain over whether the Rugby Championship can held be with the likelihood that Australia will instead face the All Blacks in up to four Tests.

That suits Rennie, who considers New Zealand the benchmark.

“What we know is that we should get to play the All Blacks a number of times this year if nothing else, and that is a great introduction for us,” he said in a video call from his New Zealand hotel room.

“For me that is pretty exciting, normally the best side in the world, so it’s a really good gauge for us of where we need to be.

“The more times we play the All Blacks the better. We haven’t had a lot of success against them the last 15 or so years and we have to put ourselves under pressure against the best.”