All Black great credits Schimidt's role at World Cup
NEWS: All Blacks great Dane Coles credits Joe Schmidt for steering New Zealand to the World Cup final and says his appointment as Wallabies coach is a win for Australia and world rugby.
After six years as Ireland head coach and overseeing their rise to world No.1, Schmidt joined his home nation in August 2022 as an assistant to Ian Foster.
Having lost six of their previous eight Tests including a historic home series defeat to Ireland, his appointment as attack coach helped right a floundering All Blacks side.
From then their win-loss record was 15-3 (one draw), including their one-point heartbreak against South Africa in the World Cup final in Paris.
Asked if they would have made it that far without Schmidt’s input, Coles was firm in his reply.
“No. I reckon he was a massive influence in us kind of getting back in those last couple of years to international standard and being consistent in those games as well,” Coles said at a media conference from Japan where he is playing in Rugby League One for Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay.
“If he wasn’t there I don’t reckon we would have gotten into a final without him.
“He was big on our attack, our breakdown. He is real passionate and intense when he talks and in his delivery – it just makes you not want to let him down – he calls out people, puts you on the spot.
“He’s a real intense character when he is coaching and it was probably something we needed when he came in.
“He played a massive part in us reaching that final of the World Cup.”
Schmidt was last month appointed as the replacement for Eddie Jones, who parted ways with the Wallabies after their disastrous World Cup campaign in which they made a historic exit in the pool round.
Coles, who earned 90 Test caps, said it was tough to watch a fellow Kiwi join the enemy camp but believed it was good for world rugby if Australia were strong.
“When you have a guy that is in the All Black environment heading over, it’s kind of a kick in the guts.
“But I’d rather see him coach as he still has a lot to give and is a great coach, so it’s good to see him put his hand up.
“With Australia not doing too well at the World Cup, international rugby needs Aussie to be stronger, like they were.
“If he can do that, which I am sure he will get that team up to scratch, it will be awesome. ”