27 March 2024

Rugby Australia should thank the Lord that Laurie Fisher's still up for the challenge

| Tim Gavel
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Laurie Fisher. Photo: Tim Gavel.

Laurie Fisher in the ABC broadcasting box at GIO Stadium (alongside Tim Gavel). Photo: Tim Gavel.

Watching the three-part Stan documentary on the Wallabies’ ill-fated 2023 World Cup campaign, one aspect of the calamitous preparation becomes abundantly clear – from the outset, there is close to no reasoned voice suggesting to Eddie Jones that the good ship Wallabies may be heading in the wrong direction. It was very much Eddie’s way or the highway.

In Eddie’s quest for total control, Laurie Fisher, an assistant coach, became collateral damage. He was told less than a year out from the World Cup that his services were no longer required. This is despite players collectively describing him as one of the best forwards coaches in the world.

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Laurie, known as ‘The Lord’, is old school. He calls a spade a spade and he gets down and dirty with the players as he puts them through drill after drill.

He speaks the language only forwards understand. It is why he has the respect of the players.

Laurie Fisher coaching

Laurie Fisher is a hands-on coach. Photo: Twitter.

I have witnessed his influence many times, particularly in the build-up to the 2004 Brumbies Super Rugby premiership.

He was in amongst it, explaining the role of the forwards in no uncertain terms.

He helped fashion the team into one of the top Super Rugby outfits of all time.

More recently, Laurie has been my co-commentator for Wallabies and Brumbies games. His insights and tactical knowledge add a new dimension to the game for myself and listeners on ABC Radio.

Laurie Fisher at Brumbies training

Laurie Fisher at Brumbies training. Photo: Twitter.

So at 65 years of age, and enjoying life as what could be called a ‘coaching gun for hire’, he receives a call from new Australian coach Joe Schmidt and suddenly he’s back in the fold as a Wallabies assistant.

It seemed as though it was only yesterday that he was told his services were not required by Eddie Jones.

Rugby Australia should thank their lucky stars that Laurie doesn’t have an ego that may, in the case of many, have prevented them from taking on a role they were sacked from less than two years earlier.

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Rugby Australia should also be thankful that he is up for the challenge at a time in life when he could be quite justifiably spending his days fishing on the NSW south coast.

His comments on being recalled to the Wallaby coaching setup were classic Laurie: “It’s a genuine privilege to get another opportunity to work with the Wallabies.” No fanfare, let’s just get on with the job.

That’s Laurie to a tee.

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William Newby11:28 pm 29 Mar 24

The single greatest threat to rugby in Australia is, Rugby Australia.

What an absolute Legend of the game played in Heaven.

James Smythe12:56 pm 29 Mar 24

As a player Laurie Fisher had more ticker than anyone I have ever seen. I started watching rugby in 1962.

The first positive step to bring rugby back into the sunlight. Thank goodness for Lord Fisher!!

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