“IT’S a great opportunity, I can’t wait to get over to Paris.”
With his Orange City side in prime position for an all-out assault on the Blowes Clothing Cup finals, Lions co-coach Steve Hamson will spend, potentially, the next three weeks in Paris, France managing the Wallaroos at the women’s Rugby World Cup.
Hamson scored the gig after coaching the side at the 2006 World Cup, and doing liaison work with several international sides in between including the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
Hamson will act as a link between the Australian side and the code’s governing bodies, the International Rugby Board (IRB) and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).
“It’s a very different role to the one I played as head coach in 2006,” Hamson explained while in camp yesterday.
“There is a lot more to the game off the field than most people see, and that is pretty much what I’ll be taking care of. Getting all the girls where they need to be, when they need to be and just making sure everything runs smoothly.
“At the moment we’re in camp getting ready, getting all our measurements and gear. It’s all very exciting.”
Hamson flies out on Sunday before Australia’s first game against South Africa on August 1.
After placing third at the 2010 World Cup in England, Australia has avoided being placed in same pool as the top two teams, England and reigning champions New Zealand.
However, Hamson said the Wallaroos won’t have an easy job qualifying for the play-off stages after being drawn with South Africa, France and Wales in pool A.
“We’re coming off a pretty disappointing tri-series tour to New Zealand about a month ago, where we got beaten by the Kiwis and Canada,” he said.
“But the inclusion of several girls from our sevens squad will make a huge difference to intensity on and off the field.
“We’ve had a good preparation, which pretty much everyone is involved in. I still get a little bit of hands-on coaching done, mainly one-on-one stuff if the coaches think anyone needs extra help.
“It’s a huge eye-opener from a coaching perspective, and I can bring a lot back to the Lions from this and my other experiences.”
After Australia’s campaign opener against the lady Springboks, the Wallaroos take on Wales on August 5 and hosts France on August 9 before the play-off stages.
Orange City’s other co-coach Mick Gray will also be absent over the next couple of weeks as he navigates Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track.
Former player Nathan Short will act as caretaker coach.