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Wallabies defend coaching group full of former NRL players

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Wallabies fullback Andrew Kellaway pushed himself to watch the whole “depressing” World Cup loss to Wales in a bid to put their tournament reality to one side and rally one last time for a campaign which could be over before they even play Portugal.

The revelation came as assistant coach Dan Palmer defended the “eclectic” group helping coach Eddie Jones with two former rugby league players part of a cohort which has come under fire in the wake of the Wallabies worst-ever World Cup result.

Palmer is part of a coaching panel which includes Brett Hodgson and Jason Ryles who had great careers in rugby league but never played rugby union but were lured by Jones, who remains in the gun as he refutes links to the Japan job, to join his crew.

“The coaching staff out here have been outstanding,” Palmer said in France.

“There’s been a little bit of chat about people from different codes, but that’s been a strength.

“There is a lot of rugby IP in the coaching group and the perspective from guys from different codes has been really helpful. I’ve thought about things I haven’t had to think about before, and that’s purely because we’ve got different perspectives in the coaching group.

“Contrary to the current narrative, I think it’s a strength in this group that we’ve got an eclectic group of coaches.”

Assistant Coach Jason Ryles and Head Coach, Eddie Jones . (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Even Kellaway said learning off Hodgson, who was a long-serving fullback in the 13-man code, had been helpful.

“As a fullback, you get different perspectives, and I know there’s been a heap of chat around the correlation between league and union, but for me, Hodgo’s played in big games, and he played the same position that I do,” Kellaway said on Wednesday.

“I’ve found him incredibly useful and not to mention he’s a top bloke, so just having someone to have someone to talk to around the group.”

Talk has been plentiful in the days after the 40-6 loss to Wales which should consign the Wallabies to their first World Cup exit without making the finals.

Amid the “mourning”, Kellaway said he took the option to watch the whole replay to find his own areas of improvement for what could be his “last game” against Portugal.

“I watched the whole game, mate. Incredibly depressing,” he said.

“We’ve definitely got more clarity about why it happened the way it happened.

Andrew Kellaway back in training (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“And as is the case with professional sport, you spend the next week trying to rectify those areas. Portugal will have watched that and they’ll be licking their lips and they’ll be coming right after us.

“So if we spend too much time dwelling on that and spending time in that shock and awe kind of phase, we’ll miss the jump and we’ll be chasing our arse on Sunday.”

If Fiji beat Georgia 24 hours before the Wallabies clash, and claim a bonus point in the process, the slight hope Australia has of progression will be snuffed out.

But given the potential fallout for players after the World Cup, Kellaway said it wouldn’t be hard to find his best.

“The best to turn it around is realising we have another game,” he said, having missed the first two games.

“It probably sounds like it’s a cliche and a bit stupid but it might be my last game, you never know.”

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