Australia: Dan McKellar believes the Wallabies can win the World Cup

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar insists his side is good enough to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup, despite their recent struggles with discipline.

The Australian slumped to a 28-27 defeat to Italy last weekend, their first against the Azzurri, after making a whopping 12 changes before the game.

The result means the Wallabies have only won two of their last eight games, making for difficult reading for their fans.

The quality is available

However, McKellar believes the team has what it takes to claim the title next year.

“What you’ll find is the 33 [players] that go to the World Cup next year are certainly good enough to win that trophy,” McKellar said.

The Wallabies conceded 16 penalties against Italy and are currently the most penalised tier-one nation. However, McKellar believes the players he picks will help improve the ill-discipline when asked how the management plans to fix the issue.

“Selection,” he said.

“There’s players who we have conversations with who we feel are repeat offenders, and there are conversations in the background with the coaches, and obviously selection has an impact around that as well.

“Rugby is a complex game. You’re going to give penalties away. But it’s the silly penalties that you can easily avoid that are hurting us at critical moments.

“There were a number of offside penalties there [against Italy] and some effort areas where we’ve got to be better.”

Taking ownership

McKellar insists the players and coaches are taking accountability for the poor discipline as they refuse to blame match officials.

“It’s on us. And as coaches and players, we’ve got to fix it,” he said.

“The fix is within the room. We can’t be pointing the finger and blaming the officials.”

The next assignment is a daunting trip to Dublin to face the best side in the world, Ireland, and McKellar believes the composure of head coach Dave Rennie is keeping the group tight.

“One thing with Dave Rennie is you won’t come across a more composed individual,” McKellar said.

“The reality is we’re under a little bit of stress at the moment, and you need a leader who will keep the group tight.

“We’re as tight as we ever have been.”

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