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

Colin Newboult
Joe Schmidt alongside new coach Geoff Parling.

Wallabies boss Joe Schmidt alongside new coach, former England and Lions lock Geoff Parling.

Wallabies boss Joe Schmidt has completed his coaching staff ahead of the 2024 Test season by bringing in the highly regarded Geoff Parling.

A former England international, the 40-year-old began his career with Newcastle Falcons before moving to Leicester Tigers in 2009.

Parling enjoyed a prolific spell at the Tigers, earning a Test call-up as a result. He won 29 caps for the Red Rose and played at the 2015 Rugby Word Cup.

Lions representation

The ex-second-row also featured for the British and Irish Lions, ironically on the 2013 tour to Australia where he played in all three Tests.

He will, therefore, be in the unique position of being on both sides during his rugby career when the Wallabies face the Lions next year.

“It’s an honour to coach the Wallabies and to work alongside Joe and the coaching group he has put together,” Parling said.

“The events on the horizon for the Wallabies and Australian Rugby represent an incredible opportunity for everyone involved in the game. I will look to work hard with the Rebels through until the end of Super Rugby, then knuckle down and help push the Wallabies forward.”

Parling finished his career at the Melbourne Rebels before he moved into coaching and, in 2020, became part of the Wallabies’ backroom team under Dave Rennie.

Although that was only a short stint as he continued to work at the Rebels, the former forward will get to fully realise his international coaching ambitions under Schmidt.

“Geoff has spent more than 20 years, playing and coaching in the professional game,” the Wallabies head coach said.

“His understanding of the lineout, along with his Super Rugby knowledge, and previous experience with the Wallabies will add value to our coaching group.”

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Englishman in Australia

Despite being a proud Englishman, Parling has spent the past few years in Australia and in 2023 stated that he and his family have settled into life in the country.

“I work with some great people that are working extremely hard to bring success to the Rebels and Victorian Rugby,” he said in April last year.

“My family love where we now call home and I see some great young talent coming through in Victoria that I’m excited about helping develop and push to make the most of their careers.

“Whilst we know we still have growing to do, we’re determined to put our print in this great sporting city, especially with everything to come in the next few years.

“A Lions tour in 2025 and home World Cup in 2027 make it an exciting time to be here.

“The Lions was a special experience and one of my fondest memories in rugby. The tradition and midweek games have moments that are lost a bit in the modern game but give memories that last forever.”

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