Joe Schmidt lands major coup as All Blacks legend revered by Sir Graham Henry and Richie McCaw joins Wallabies

Colin Newboult
New Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt in 2024.

New Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt in 2024.

Joe Schmidt has secured a significant coup by tempting All Blacks’ legendary coach Mike Cron to join his new Wallabies backroom team.

The 69-year-old is one of the most highly-regarded scrum coaches in the game having done the role in New Zealand’s national set-up for 15 years.

Cron joined the All Blacks under Sir Graham Henry in 2004 and remained in the role until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The ‘scrum doctor’

Henry described him as “an exceptional coach”, who was “probably the most knowledgeable scrum coach in world rugby”.

“He was never satisfied and was constantly looking for new coaching methods and ideas to enhance his players, he was very innovative… I can’t speak highly enough of Mike Cron both as a person and a coach,” the 2011 Rugby World Cup winner added.

Schmidt said: “Mike has added tremendous value in every programme he has been involved with and brings a wealth of knowledge to our coaching group.”

Nicknamed the ‘scrum doctor’, Cron joins a coaching staff which includes Laurie Fisher and Eoin Toolan as the Wallabies look towards the start of the 2024 Test season.

He was a hugely popular figure at the All Blacks, with former New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew calling him a “national treasure” and “one of the best rugby coaches in the world”.

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Cron, who was promoted to the role of New Zealand’s forwards coach in 2012 and held the position until 2019, has also received high praise from the legendary Richie McCaw.

“Mike’s ability to connect with all his players is outstanding and because of this, he understands the best ways to help players improve their skills,” McCaw said.

“He is also extremely innovative in trying different things at training to solve the problems players might experience during games.”

Since his departure from the All Blacks set-up in 2019, Cron has been working with World Rugby as a set-piece consultant.

Scrum thinker

He is one of the foremost thinkers of the scrum and continues to look at new and innovative ways of improving a team’s set-piece prowess.

“It sounds bloody stupid but you’re coaching scrummaging and you don’t know the strongest pushing position biomechanically, so the eureka moment for me was when I found out the strongest position the human body can be in a horizontal position. That’s winning the lotto for a coach,” Cron told the Rugby Journal in a 2022 interview.

“I now had knowledge. I knew that this was the position that, biomechanically, was the strongest. And I could then equate that. So, say you’re on the squat rack and doing a deep squat.

“You know when you come up and find that sweet spot and then power out of it – well, if you pause there, that’s the angle I’m talking about. I could then equate the angle to something we do in the gym.”

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