Former England star looking forward to ‘unique experience’ of facing the Lions

David Skippers
Geoff Parling Wallabies assistant coach 2020 - Alamy.jpg

New Wallabies lineout coach Geoff Parling.

Former England and British and Irish Lions second-row Geoff Parling is looking forward to coaching against the famous touring team as part of Australia’s backroom staff in 2025.

Parling, who was named as Australia’s new lineout coach under Joe Schmidt recently, is set to make history next year by becoming the first man to play for and coach against the Lions in a Test series.

In 2020, Parling was also part of the Wallabies‘ coaching staff under Dave Rennie and he admitted that he is very excited to be coaching at Test level again.

It can go one of two ways’

“It is going to be incredible – I can’t play that down – it will be a great experience,” the 40-year-old told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast. “It’s really, really exciting but you’ve also got to perform. As we know, it can go one of two ways.

“So I am really excited about it, but not just [the Lions]. We are playing two Tests against Wales and one against Georgia in July. I am also excited about that opportunity there.

“When I did the stint with [former Australia coach] Dave Rennie in 2020 it was during Covid and my family couldn’t come to any of the games. So I am excited about having my wife and three kids experiencing an international game when I am coaching.

“So there are lots of things before that Lions tour as well, but I do appreciate that is a pretty unique experience to be involved in again.”

Parling, who is currently part of the Melbourne Rebels‘ coaching staff, comes in as part of a Wallabies set-up who have a major rebuilding task on their hands.

Joe Schmidt completes Wallabies coaching puzzle by bringing in ex-British and Irish Lion ahead of huge 2025 series

This, after they endured a disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign in which they failed to reach the global tournament’s knockout rounds for the first time in its history and they are currently languishing in ninth position on World Rugby’s official rankings list.

However, the appointment of the highly rated Schmidt has brought plenty of optimism to Australian rugby, with the 2025 Lions tour, the men’s 2027 Rugby World Cup and the women’s global showpiece in 2029 on the horizon.

“Everyone speaks about the golden decade ahead of us, and I think there is a golden opportunity ahead of us with the Lions tour and the men’s World Cup and women’s World Cup,” added Parling, who won 29 England caps and represented the Lions in all three Tests during their 2-1 series win over the Wallabies in 2013.

‘Lots of frustration’

“Obviously for the lads who were involved in that [2023] World Cup experience, there is lots of frustration there because it didn’t go well.

“But I think there is really good blend here of rugby nous and some really good athletes. In general, people move in Australia better than in the UK. The population are better movers. If you are brought up being outside all the time, I do think in general you move a bit better.

“And you combine that with some of the Pacific power here as well. There is definitely an opportunity here, I am telling you.”

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