England attack guru a target
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Eddie Jones is facing a battle with new Australian head coach Dave Rennie to hold onto attack specialist Scott Wisemantel, who has proved to be a key member of his England management team.
Wisemantel was brought in by Jones, the England head coach, in May 2018 to help with the team’s attacking play and helped guide them into the World Cup Final where they lost to South Africa in Japan.
His contract ended after the tournament finished and the popular former Rugby League player returned to Australia to continue teaching. According to RugbyPass, Rugby Football Union are unaware of any move for Wisemantel by the ARU.
Before the final, Wisemantel confirmed that a discussion with Jones would be his top priority. However, Scott Johnson, the Australian Rugby Union director of rugby, has made it clear he wants to give Rennie a group of Aussie coaches to support his new regime following the departure of Michael Cheika after the World Cup.
Current Wallaby attack coach Shaun Berne, defence coach Nathan Grey, forwards coach Simon Raiwalui and skills coach Mick Byrne, are all contracted to the ARU until the end of the year.
Wisemantel discussed his immediate future in Japan stating: “I’m a consultant here until November 2. On November 6 I’m a school-teacher, I’m a casual teacher. That’s what I do. I go home and I’m a casual teacher, I might teach agriculture, I might teach music, I don’t know what I’ve got. That’s it for the short term. So after that I don’t know. But the one bloke I will sit down and have a chat to is Eddie Jones and we’ll chat after that.”
During the World Cup, England and Leicester flyhalf George Ford paid tribute to Wisemantel’s input during his time with England.
Ford said: “You can see since Wisey’s come in, the variety of our game. In terms of different ways in which we can attack, it’s gone through the roof. It’s a game, Rugby Union, where you need to be able to have the ability to run, to shift the ball via passing and you need to have a kicking game as well.
“I think for me as a flyhalf and I’m sure the rest of the team and the backs would agree with this, that the way we train and what Wisey pushes each week has put us in a position where we can do all three of those things.
“And then it’s about us making decisions on the field to do it, and that is what Wisey and the coaches are brilliant at, putting us in position and situations in training to make those decisions. The amount of tries the back three have scored, the wings have scored recently, whether that is through passing or kicking, speaks for itself. We massively enjoy working with Wisey and the rest of the coaches.”
By Chris Jones, @RugbyPass