We can think of worse ways to spend our days than doing a little rugby coaching in France, and then packing our bags for an extended stint in Australia…wait, we cannot, as that itinerary actually sounds pretty attractive.
That is the life of Simon Raiwalui, who has come back down under to see if he can inject some spirit into the forward pack of the Wallabies, as they prepare for a Test series against Ireland.
He has until June 9 to get his group ready for the Six Nations champions in Brisbane. Raiwalui is taking over for Mario Ledesma. While in France Raiwalui said, he was keeping an eye on the Super Rugby League, hopefully without larceny on his mind, as that story is all too familiar to Aussie rugby fans.
“It’s going to be a long process for me in the next month getting to know those guys so I will be really looking at this weekend as the first reference point,” Raiwalui told AAP.“I’ve watched a lot of video and I’ve seen some good things and some other things to work on but I’ll be able to look at things in much more detail now that I’m here.”
Raiwalui needs to find some players, most notably a hooker. The top choice would be Tatafu Polata-Nau, a Sydney-sider who plays for England’s Leicester Tigers who made 140 appearances for the Waratahs and six with the Western Force before he went to England in need of a job.
The next choice would be Jordan Uelese, but he is struggling to regain fitness and has been sidelined with a chronic arm injury. He is expected to be ready for the latter part of May, when his Melbourne Rebels take on Japan’s Sunwolves, but the nerve damage near his biceps muscle is the sort of thing that presents a true dilemma.
Raiwalui expressed confidence in Uelese, saying, “There’s some big gaps to fill but of the videos I’ve watched there’s some good young hookers coming through, including Jordan,” he said.