Welsh caretaker coach Scott Johnson has signed as an assistant coach to the Wallabies.
Johnson, assistant to former Welsh coach Mike Ruddock and the head coach for the last three Welsh Six Nations matches, which included two defeats and a home draw to Italy, said that family reasons influenced his decision to give up the chance of coaching Wales.
He made no secret that he had been looking to return to Australia for some time.
“Knuckles (Connolly) and (ARU chief executive) Gary Flowers have provided me with a great opportunity to return home and work with some of the world’s best players. It’s an understatement to say I’m looking forward to it, but I will leave Wales with some fond memories and also plenty of experience,” said Johnson.
Johnson, a former Australian under 21 flyhalf and Waratahs flyhalf, was named Club Coach of the Year in 1999 Sydney.
He then moved to Wales where he assisted Steve Hansen at the 2003 World Cup and Ruddock during Wales’s 2005 Six Nations championship victory.
Connolly said Johnson would add value to the new look Wallabies: “Scotty is one of rugby’s true characters – he’s a skillful coach and will be a good addition to the structure,” said Connolly.
“He has been under enormous pressure over the last month or so during the Six Nations, but he’s an outstanding coach and a he’s looking forward to coming home.
“From an attack perspective he has a really good vision of how we should play the game and I know he’s looking forward to working with some of the more experienced players in our back line, as well as the new talent coming through.”