Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management | Tags: Martin Johnson, Pieter de Villiers, Robbie Deans, RWC 2011, the Lions, Warren Gatland
The next couple of months will shape the coaching staffs for the major World Cup teams. The governing bodies know that two years about the minimum time a coach can make a real impact. Of course some have had immediate success: Warren Gatland for Wales and perhaps Robbie Deans for Australia. The jury is still out on Pieter De Villiers of South Africa, and Martin Johnson not really the coach for England.
The Six Nations will tell us something about the ambitions of the teams. The Lions tour will define some of the possible stars of the World Cup.
But for me, 2009 will show us how the shape of the game has changed at the top table. The ELVs and breakdown protocols have now filtered through. Referees are becoming more consistent in their interpretation. Players have adpated on field and coaches off field. I don’t see much new after the middle of 2009 and into the Tri Nations.
The competition will revert to the most skilful, best prepared side winning; a mix of the talent available and the coaching expertise to manage those resources. I cannot see the World Cup winning coach not in place at the end of this year. The big four, that is the only four winners of the World Cup, are still in the box seats today, but the hopefuls, that is Argentina, France and even perhaps Wales and Ireland, need to get 2009 right if they want to be in the final mix.
The coaching challenges remain the same, at all levels. This year will define the personnel.
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