Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Aussie Coach Defends Tactics

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Aussie Coach Defends Tactics

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIA coach John Connolly has defended his team's performances on their European tour and maintained the trip provided an excellent learning experience for both him and his players leading into next year's World Cup.

The Wallabies arrived back home yesterday having produced wins over Scotland and Italy, a draw with Wales and a defeat to Ireland on their four-Test tour which saw Connolly experiment with his back line. "We are not competing with the critics," said Connolly. "We are doing what we think is best for the team. The players are trying as hard as they can, it's all you can do.

"The All Blacks are obviously setting the bar very high, but the rest of the countries are chasing them."

The most significant changes saw regular fly-half Stephen Larkham at centre, while centre Matt Giteau saw extensive action as a scrum-half.

Connolly was hopeful of persuading Western Force coach John Mitchell to continue to use Giteau in the new role in the coming Super 14 series, but Mitchell has indicated his star recruit will be back at centre. …

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