When Anthony Seibold was sacked by the Broncos in 2020 his NRL coaching future looked cloudy, let alone the prospect of tackling international rugby.
But England’s Australian coach Eddie Jones has never been afraid of thinking outside the box and so Seibold now finds himself tasked with shutting down the Wallabies attack in July’s three-Test series.
“Eddie is a big South Sydney fan and he was fascinated by how we were able to turn things around and have some success there,” England defense coach Seibold told Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
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“I was pretty embarrassed about how it all went at the Broncos and you obviously want to have success. He was in contact a couple of weeks later and said ‘look, do you want to do some projects for us?’ That’s how it all started.
“It’s been a great challenge but a really good experience.”
Seibold signed a two-year deal in 2021 that takes him through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
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Former Wallabies Justin Harrison and Morgan Turinui were quick to warn Seibold that his workload and stress levels were about to go through the roof under the notoriously demanding Jones.
“It is intense but a brilliant program,” Seibold said of an England set-up that reached the final of the 2019 World Cup.
“It’s very different to a rugby league environment which can be very insular. I’ve learned more from my failures than my successes. There’d be some things I’d do differently, some things I’d do the same.
“At the time it wasn’t much fun (at the Broncos) but I dusted myself off and this experience with England has been fascinating and rewarding. I’m a really curious person and I didn’t come to rugby with any real rugby expertise.”
Seibold said Wallabies center Samu Kerevi was an obvious focus for his series preparation given his ability to dent the defence.
“Kerevi in the Rugby Championship was outstanding in the way he created momentum,” Seibold said, while also touching on his work with England whiz-kid Marcus Smith.
“Marcus has a real growth mindset, always on WhatsApp sending me clips on his defense because he has some room for growth in that part of his game. I love that about Marcus.”
Seibold said it would be “surreal” and “bizarre” touring Australia with England.
The team was trying to strike a balance between its tradition set-piece and defensive strengths while adding more attacking strings to their bow.
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He said some of world rugby’s biggest names had been welcoming despite his recent struggles in the NRL.
“That first campaign… I was quite vulnerable with regards to the Broncos experience but they knew enough about me by the end of it that they knew I was there for the right reasons,” Seibold said.
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