Super Rugby

Oz to overhaul coaching system amid Super Rugby woes

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)
Wallaby coach Michael Cheika (Gallo Images)

Sydney - The Australian Rugby Union unveiled plans Friday for a national panel to oversee coaching development as it grapples with the fall-out of a demoralising Super Rugby season.

The move followed a summit of top coaches and former players in Sydney on Thursday, including Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer and ex-national coaching director Dick Marks.

The panel's roles will include designing and overseeing a national coaching development strategy aimed at educating coaches at all levels of the game.

It will also develop the fundamentals of coaching and boost support for the progress of coaches, including in Super Rugby and the Wallabies set-up.

"There was strong alignment among the experts in the room about where the opportunities exist to improve the game at all levels through quality coaching," ARU general manager of high performance Ben Whitaker said.

"Importantly, it wasn't a meeting looking at failures within the current coaching development system - it was about identifying opportunities to enhance the system and work towards providing all coaches with support and knowledge and a genuine sense of belonging to the national cause."

Australia's five Super Rugby teams have won just three games against foreign opposition this season - two against South African strugglers Kings, and none against sides from New Zealand.

The ARU has also been under fire for its handling of efforts to reduce Australia's Super Rugby presence to four teams, as part of moves to trim the bloated, mainly southern hemisphere competition.

The ARU announced in April that either the Force or Rebels would be cut for 2018, along with two South African teams.

But almost two months later no decision has been reached, in a controversy that has overshadowed the competition in Australia.

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