Joe Schmidt reveals his Wallabies selection list ‘has grown’ as new era set to begin

Dylan Coetzee
Joe Schmidt after being appointed the Wallabies' head coach.

Joe Schmidt after being appointed the Wallabies' head coach.

Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt admits his list of potential selections has grown during the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The new coach has taken on the massive task of reviving the Wallabies after their worst performance in Rugby World Cup history in 2023 at the hands of ex-boss Eddie Jones.

Schmidt was an assistant for the All Blacks at the same tournament and has now made the jump over the Tasman to guide New Zealand’s bitter rivals.

It is a big period for Australian rugby with the British & Irish Lions tour hitting their shores next year before the country hosts the World Cup in 2027.

Improved Super form

One massive bonus so far this year for Schmidt is the improved performances of Australian teams in Super Rugby Pacific. The coach is excited by the progress and insists he will only really know his best team near the end of the year.

“We started with a list that was about three deep in every position and that list has been jumbled around,” Schmidt said.

“Names have appeared on the bottom of it and the list has grown.

“That’s confusing a little bit for me, and makes more work because I’m trying to track different players – but it’s exciting.

“When you learn most around players and selection is when you’ve had time with them,” Schmidt said.

“I’m looking forward to the end-of-year tour to have a little bit more time with them.

“It’s probably facetious to say early December but that’s when we’ll get a bit more growth from the team.

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“Through these early games we’ll know our best available 15 when we name it to play Wales.

“We’re taking it one step at a time but we want to be really competitive from the first kick-off.

“We want to be as competitive as we can be when the Lions arrive – that’s my massive target, that’s the pinnacle that’s next up.”

Consistency is key

While there has been notable improvement in the Australian Super Rugby form, Schmidt acknowledged consistency is still an issue as seen in the Bledisloe Cup in recent years.

“It’s probably fluctuated a little bit, like the Bledisloe have in the last two years, where being competitive one week hasn’t necessarily materialised into being competitive the next week.

“Driving that consistency of performance is massively important, so trying to build that is going to be part of the challenge.”

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