The NSW Waratahs have appointed former rugby league international and USA Eagles Defence Coach, Phil Bailey to their management team for the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Bailey will replace the departing Steve Tandy, following confirmation of the Welshman’s move to Scotland in late-2019.
Boasting a decorated playing career in the 13-man game, Bailey featured in more than 200 top-flight fixtures in Australia and the United Kingdom, including three State of Origin appearances and four Tests for the Kangaroos.
Following his retirement due to injury in 2010, Bailey has cut his teeth as a rugby union coach in a career that started in the United States, firstly with the New York Athletic Club and then onto the men’s national team.
Bailey won the US Club Championship with the Athletic Club and was part of the United State’s management for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Following his time in the US, Bailey took up a role with Hong Kong Football Club where he served as Head Coach for two seasons – turning the struggling club into competition leaders before his departure in 2018.
More recently, Bailey has worked within NSW Rugby League’s development pathway.
NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney said that Bailey would be charged with overseeing the defensive structure already in place and working with players on individual elements of their defence.
“With Steve’s departure coming mid-way through what’s a short pre-season, we want to continue the system that’s been in place for the last 18 months,” Penney said.
“It’s a system that’s had a great deal of success and one the players are comfortable with.
“Steve has left the blueprint for how we’ll work defensively, outlining areas of improvement and points of focus for the group – we feel that Phil has the attributes to deliver on these.
“Phil brings great experience from his time with Hong Kong and the United States to oversee our defensive structure, but also expertise in key areas such as initial contact from his playing career.
“Elements of that physicality [from rugby league] is something we want to incorporate into our defence and Phil will be working with guys individually across the season.
“I was really impressed when Tim Rapp and myself met with Phil at the end of last year, I think he’s the sort of character that will bring plenty to the group aside from his role in defence.”
Bailey said the opportunity to make a return to the game where he started his coaching career was an exciting one.
“I started my coaching career over in the US and absolutely loved my time both there and in Hong Kong, but to now continue that journey in Australia and be a part of an organisation like the [NSW] Waratahs is great,” Bailey said.
“The conversations I’ve had with Rob and the wider coaching staff have been really positive, we share similar philosophies on the game and their commitment to developing young players is something that’s been a big part of my coaching career to date.
“There’s a great platform there to work from defensively and I’m looking forward to contributing to the foundation that’s been built over the last few months.”