The Patient Approach: Dan Herbert’s Methodical Approach to Wallabies Coach and High-Performance Changes

Five years back, Daniel Herbert urged the Australian rugby code to focus on addressing “systemic” problems within the structure rather than blaming the head coach. Herbert was recently pushed into the role of Rugby Australia chairman following Hamish McLennan’s ousting. He aims to put in place the required systemic changes so that the game can thrive again. Making the right appointments at the top emphasizes his strategy. He plans to appoint a new director of high-performance for rugby ahead of selecting the Wallabies head coach. He plans to build the foundations, get the right people in place, and unify the system. Previous appointments within the organization allegedly lacked the drive to push the required changes. Herbert hopes to appoint a new director of high-performance by the end of the year and is keen on working with big names in rugby as possibilities. After being uplifted to the role of the board’s chair, Herbert was quick to outline the importance of unity in moving forward. He recognized McLennan’s solidarity during the pandemic but conceded that the game’s high-performance aspect has been lacking unity for years. McLennan’s forceful style in driving changes was criticized, as was the lack of humility in public. Queensland Rugby Union chairman Brett Clark warned against seeing Herbert’s appointment as a Queensland takeover. Herbert appeared to be more cautious in his approach and focused on listening to the stakeholders. He viewed the showpiece events looming on the horizon as opportunities but stressed the urgency to avoid wasting those opportunities. He also stressed that finding a balance between patience and immediate action is critical to the game’s success. RA’s broadcast deal of $29 million annually is among the list of issues that require immediate attention.