Rugby Union


Scrivener goes to school for Wallabies

Nick Scrivener undertook volunteer coaching at Canberra schools simply because he loved it.

The initiative he showed 17 years ago paid off handsomely yesterday after he was officially confirmed as part of the Wallabies' new-look coaching staff.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans announced Scrivener would join him as coaching assistant, Andrew Blades as forwards coach and Tony McGahan as coaching co-ordinator.

After two years as head coach of Scottish outfit Edinburgh, Scrivener returned home last year to head up the Australian Rugby Union's Academy Program.

But when Deans came knocking, the ACT Brumbies foundation player found the opportunity too good to refuse.

Scrivener also spent 10 seasons on the Brumbies coaching staff and worked under highly-credentialled coaches Eddie Jones and David Nucifora.


''It [working with the Wallabies] isn't something I've really coveted all my career, but it's always in the back of your mind and as a proud Australian it's an honour,'' he said.

''In 1995 after I finished uni I volunteered with ACT Rugby, and as you move into professional team coaching the Wallabies starts to become a bit more realistic.

''I had the privilege of working with some quality coaches at the Brumbies, and the positive from those experiences is you do learn off good people.

''It goes both ways, you learn things that are positive and other things not so positive, but you meld it together and make it suit how you go about your dealings as a coach.''

Scrivener said one of his major roles would be player management when Australia faced Scotland and Wales in a series of Test matches in June.

The Wallabies play Scotland on a Tuesday in Newcastle, before lining-up against Wales four days later in Brisbane.

To make the turnaround even tighter, there's a Super Rugby round preceding the Scotland Test, meaning NSW, Melbourne and Brumbies squad members might be forced to back up just days after playing for their province.

''There will be multiple handovers of players between the national team and the provinces, which never used to be the case,'' Scrivener said.

''Part of my role will be developing a system of tracking and reporting so when they're coming in and out of the Wallabies and Super Rugby the process is as seamless as possible.

''One thing I did pick up in Scotland was squad management, given we had players dropping out for Tests quite often and it was great to experience that, given the role I am heading into now.''

Blades's job will chiefly be working on Australia's set-piece play at scrums and line-outs.

McGahan is currently finishing up his duties at top Irish province Munster and has previous experience coaching in Japan and Queensland. He will have significant involvement in the overall co-ordination of the coaching and management team, and will assist Deans.