Finn Russell ‘He’ll take no prisoners’: The traits that have made Dave Rennie so successful

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Finn Russell Success tends to follow New Zealand rugby coach Dave Rennie who is the new Wallabies coach.

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Success tends to follow New Zealand rugby coach Dave Rennie who is the new Wallabies coach.

No-one in New Zealand rugby is better placed than Wayne Smith to provide an accurate assessment of incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

For the disillusioned Australian fan with arms crossed yet to be sold on the most important Wallabies appointment in decades, here are some adjectives provided by Smith, a doyen of New Zealand rugby coaching, that may appease their concerns.

“Relentless. Unwavering. Loyal.”

And here’s the kicker: “He’ll take no prisoners”.

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Smith knows Rennie’s coaching ethos inside out and how his characteristics can translate to success with the Wallabies; a side reeling from a poor World Cup campaign that in reality most expected given the body of work presented in recent years.

Smith, who had already steered the Crusaders to Super Rugby titles in 1998 and 1999, before going on to coach of the All Blacks, worked alongside Rennie as an assistant at the Chiefs.
 

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Rennie has accepted a three-and-a-half year deal to coach the team.

In 2011, the year before the pair came on board, the Chiefs finished bottom of the New Zealand conference with six wins from 16 outings. A string of players exited stage left after the World Cup later that year and Rennie was tasked with rebuilding a weakened club with trusty sidekick Smith.

Sound familiar?

The result? Two Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013. Rennie’s reputation in New Zealand after that could not have been greater.

It wasn’t bad for a guy who began working as a school teacher and then ran a pub in Upper Hutt, the North Island city near Wellington where he was born.

In the days since RA chief executive Raelene Castle and director of rugby Scott Johnson confirmed Rennie had been rubber-stamped as just the second Kiwi – after Robbie Deans – to lead the men in gold, finding someone to speak ill of the 55-year-old has become a difficult task.

“You don’t find anyone in New Zealand who says a bad word about him,” says 70-Test All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens. “He stays out of the limelight, he wants to get in and do his job and do it as well as poss

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