It takes a daring person to step into Australian rugby, especially given the financial troubles the code has faced. However, Jaime Fernandez, the new women’s high-performance manager at Rugby Australia, has not flinched in the face of challenges. Growing up in the Northern Territory, Fernandez is no stranger to adversity. He sees the opportunity to make a positive impact in women’s fifteens rugby in Australia, with two upcoming World Cups and a home tournament in 2029.
Fernandez is determined to turn the Wallaroos into a genuine force, despite coming from a non-traditional background in the sport. He recently secured the services of Jo Yapp as the Wallaroos’ first full-time coach. Yapp’s experience in managing a team on a tight budget has made her a valuable addition to the coaching staff. Fernandez believes that high-performance is about daily behaviors and attitudes, rather than just financial resources. Having experienced close margins in sports victories and losses, Fernandez knows the importance of executing skills under pressure. He points to the Wallaroos’ ability to hang on against Wales as an example of high-performance shining through under challenging circumstances.