Wallabies greats join panel to review Australia’s disastrous 2023 season and World Cup campaign
Former Wallabies legends Andrew Slack and Justin Harrison, in collaboration with high-performance expert Darlene Harrison, have been appointed to conduct a comprehensive review of Australia’s lacklustre 2023 rugby season and World Cup campaign under coach Eddie Jones, whose resignation was confirmed last week.
The relatively inexperienced Wallabies squad was eliminated at the World Cup group stage for the first time in the tournament’s 10-edition history, igniting a torrent of criticism directed at Jones and Rugby Australia.
During Jones’ brief second tenure at the helm (he also coached the Wallabies with considerable success in the early-2000s), the Wallabies managed to secure victory in just two out of nine Tests after taking the reins in early-2023.
The three-member panel will delve into the “strategy and structure of the Wallabies’ performance environment” and is committed to delivering its recommendations to the Rugby Australia board before the year’s end, as stated in an official RA communication.
RA CEO Phil Waugh expressed his disappointment, saying, “As rugby fans, we were all disappointed in the results at the World Cup – the performance was not good enough for a proud rugby nation like ours.”
Queensland great Slack, a former Wallabies captain, was at the helm when the Wallabies achieved a Grand Slam triumph in 1984, defeating all four of the ‘Home Nations’ – England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. He also led Australia in the inaugural World Cup in 1987.
Justin Harrison, a former Wallabies lock, played 34 Tests for Australia, including the memorable World Cup final won by England in 2003. He currently serves as the CEO of Australia’s players’ union.
In a move to ensure a well-rounded perspective, the panel will be supported by a Pasifika advisor, considering the Wallabies squad’s diverse composition, with many players having Pacific islands heritage.
Waugh emphasised the importance of continuously striving to enhance the Wallabies’ performance.
“The Wallabies have a proud history as one of Australia’s most loved sporting teams, and it is our responsibility as custodians to continually seek to improve performance and deliver a world-class program,” he said.
As the review panel delves into the issues that marred the 2023 season, the rugby community and fans alike eagerly await their insights, hoping for a brighter future for the Wallabies on the global rugby stage.