‘Cast a wide net’: Ex-Wallabies skipper urges RA to pick best coach regardless of where they’re from


Stephen Moore has urged Rugby Australia to learn from a “pretty unfortunate 12 months” and not be afraid of the prospect of appointing a foreigner as the next Wallabies coach.

The former Test skipper said the code now had a chance to reboot after the ousting of chairman Hamish McLennan and exit of coach Eddie Jones following their historic pool-stage World Cup exit this year.

The veteran hooker of 129 Tests has a vested interest. 

Moore is the Queensland chief executive of global insurance broker BMS Group, who will be revealed as the Queensland Reds’ front-shirt sponsor and inaugural naming rights partner of the National Rugby Training Centre on Wednesday.

Moore is convinced the code’s ceiling remains high and the commercial partnership with Queensland Rugby Union, stretching until 2027, “made sense”.

New Zealand assistant coach Joe Schmidt before the 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Stade de France in Paris, France. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

He said thorough processes were needed at RA after some “strange decision making” led to uncertainty around the direction of the code.

“It almost became untenable with both those guys,” he told AAP of Jones and McLennan. 

“It’s good to be out the other side of that. 

“It was a pretty unfortunate time, the last 12 months for Australian rugby.

“It doesn’t mean the change is finished; it still needs some regeneration of the board to get the best people involved to take the game to where it needs to go.

“I’ve seen some green shoots there in the last few weeks; starting to talk about the things that matter rather than having a crack at other codes.

“Rugby’s still facing great challenges but fundamentally it’s a great game with a lot of upside if we get it right.”

Moore argued it was a good time to be in the market for a head coach and nationality should not have any bearing on the decision.

“We just need to have the best coach and it’s no secret we haven’t been great at developing our own coaches,” Moore said.

“So you need to look outside; it’d be wise to cast a wide net and pick the absolute best possible.

“If that’s (New Zealand’s) Joe Schmidt that’s great, if that’s (Ireland’s) Ronan O’Gara that’s great and if it’s (Australian) Dan McKellar that’s great too.

“We need to go through that process and we didn’t do that with Eddie and … it probably came back to bite us.”

Moore said he and business partner Peter Apolakiatis had worked with their London head office to secure a principal partnership deal with the QRU.

He lauded Brad Thorn’s contribution as coach but felt they had reached their ceiling under the dual international and new mentor Les Kiss was equipped to move the needle.

Impressed by the new Ballymore facility, he felt the Reds could again become one of the best supported sporting outfits in the country.

“It was run down over the last 20 years, Ballymore, and that reflected in the feeling around the place,” Moore said.

“But when you go there now it’s a professional feel and it rubs off.

“The players feel that and at some point we need to see that reflected on the field.”

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