Rennie needs space for rebuild: Connolly

New Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie must be given time to rebuild the side says John Connolly.
New Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie must be given time to rebuild the side says John Connolly.

Former Australian rugby coach John Connolly says there will be tremendous pressure on new Wallabies mentor Dave Rennie, but there needs to be realistic expectations placed on the New Zealander.

Rennie's contract takes him through until the end of the 2023 World Cup, but he won't take over the job until he completes his commitments to Scottish side Glasgow Warriors in mid-2020.

Connolly who led the Wallabies to the 2007 World Cup, would have liked an Australian appointed, but said Rennie was probably the right choice given the dearth of suitably qualified local candidates.

"I think the cupboard is pretty bare with what's available, for us so I totally understand the thoughts on Dave Rennie," Connolly told AAP.

He added Rennie, the second New Zealander to coach the Wallabies after Robbie Deans from 2008-2013, should be given time to rebuild the team.

"The expectations on Dave Rennie have to be realistic.

"He's taking over a side that has won only 50 per cent of their games the last couple of years.

"He'll have to reinvent the halves, it will be a totally new midfield, so he's going to have to select well and he's got to be given a little bit of space as we go forward," Connolly said, adding that might not happen.

"The Australian public demand the Wallabies win well so there will be tremendous pressure on him.

"We have a slightly different mindset to the Kiwis to how the game is played and that will be a challenge for him understanding that.

"The politics of Australia rugby ... he doesn't want to get involved in that but that can be very deep.

"I don't know him terribly well, but I know him well enough to say that I'm impressed with him as a bloke and I think communication-wise he'll be good," Connolly said.

Two-times Wallabies' World Cup-winning centre Tim Horan backed Rennie's appointment by Rugby Australia.

"I've spoken to players who've played underneath him, they respect him. He's a very good on-field coach and I think he'll do wonders for Australian rugby," Horan said on Fox Sports.

"He's got a tough job, a lot of of players have left the Wallabies in the last six months, and after World Cup as well.

"He'll have to mould this Australia team. He hasn't got a lot of time because he'll only be coming back three or four weeks prior to the Wallabies' first Test match."

Australian Associated Press