May 29, 2023

What ‘great man’ Dave Rennie told dropped Wallabies star

What 'great man' Dave Rennie told dropped Wallabies star

With this year’s World Cup just around the corner, the Wallabies ramped up their preparations for the sport’s most prestigious event with a four-day training camp on the Gold Coast last month.

After a trying campaign in 2022, which saw more than 50 players don Wallaby gold, coach Dave Rennie had some tough calls to make.

Rennie, who was sensationally axed by Rugby Australia shortly after, named a 44-player squad for the camp – including 10 loose forwards.

Hard-hitting flanker Lachlan Swinton wasn’t one of them.

Swinton was sidelined for almost the entire 2022 campaign after injuring a nerve in his right shoulder during the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific last year.

But after a long and gruelling rehabilitation process, which Swinton said “scared” him, the seven-Test Wallaby was overlooked for national camp.

However, the 26-year-old was by no means out of Dave Rennie’s Wallabies plans.

“Dave did give me a call, he is a good man, he’s a fair bloke. He gave me a call and talked to me,” Swinton told RugbyPass.

“He said, ‘You’re not out of the mix completely’, it’s just a matter of I haven’t played in a while and I’ve got to put my best foot forward and hit the ground running with the season.

“Rennie as a bloke is a great man, he’s a great coach as well and a good bloke.

“He did that a fair bit, called everyone and kept them in the loop, told them where they stand and gave them points in how they can get better and get themselves in the squad.

“It was really good with (him) letting me know where I’m at, and I thought it was very fair.

“I knew myself that I hadn’t played in a long time and I wasn’t making any expectations.”

Swinton made his international debut in a Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane just over two years ago, but it didn’t quite go to plan.

While the Wallabies were able to record a stunning win over the All Blacks, Swinton was forced to watch the Test from the sidelines.

The rampaging flanker became the first Wallaby to be red carded on debut, following a high shot on Test veteran Samuel Whitelock.

But he was always destined for more.

Swinton was given more opportunities to represent his country, before suffering that cruel injury blow while playing for the Waratahs last season.

While his injury has seemingly seen him fall down the depth chart at flanker, a coaching change could work in his favour.

Not only did Rugby Australia capture the attention of the world with their stunning decision to part ways with Rennie, but the biggest news was what followed.

Legendary coach Eddie Jones signed a five-year deal with Rugby Australia, which will see him oversee the next two World Cups.

“Everyone’s on a level playing field now,” Swinton added. “You’ve got lads who were playing and getting connections together within the team and building rapport within the squad.

“The fact I haven’t played with the Wallabies for a year or so now, so I guess we’re all on a level playing field in a sense.

“Obviously a bit of everything got turned on its head at the top end there, so it’ll be interesting to see.

“It’s also exciting in way, he does bring excitement Eddie.

“I’ve heard about some yarns and that about him before and he seems like an intense dude in the best possible way when it comes to training and games.

“Very, very keen to push my bill forward and I know I’ve got to put good performances together and show him what I’m made of because I haven’t played for a while so I’m keen do that.

“If he wants me I’m keen to lace up and put that Wallabies jersey on.”


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