Departing Wallabies forwards coach Michael Foley has urged the ARU to replace him with a fellow countryman rather then look abroad for a suitable candidate.
There have been suggestions that former England prop Trevor Woodman is in line for the job, but Foley, whose three-year tenure with the Wallabies finishes at the end Australia’s current European tour, hopes the ARU will look at its local coaches first.
Foley takes over as the Waratahs forwards coach, but admits he may still be interested in being involved with the Wallabies if asked.
“I would never say I didn’t want to be involved [with the Wallabies],” said Foley. “But if I wasn’t to be involved, I would very much like to see an Australian coach come into my role.
“The appointment of Robbie Deans has been such a bloody good one, and he is going to be good for more than just the Wallabies. It would be a real shame not to have an Australian learn from him and share the intellectual property he brings. I also think having an Australian in that role is important because we are representing Australia.”
Foley confessed to having mixed feelings with his time with Wallabies almost up, but was delighted he had been able to make a meaningful contribution to Australian Rugby.
“When I came to the Wallabies, I saw a group of guys who were so low and, to some extent, the Australian rugby public had turned their backs on them,” said Foley.
“From that 2005 game against England, you had this sense amongst the group that the general public didn’t feel it was indicative of Australia what was happening. When you got closer to the group, you discovered there were guys there who desperately wanted to represent Australia.
“These guys were saying, ‘We’re not giving up.’ The more I looked at it, the more I realised it was Australian rugby which had let down the players.
“The set piece had been neglected grossly, and these guys were good Aussie blokes who felt so downhearted and so low in confidence because they hadn’t been able to put their best foot forward on the international stage.
“They were wearing the colours. They were wearing the crest. They wanted to give more. But they didn’t know how.”