Wallabies need new blood, new ideas and a new coach - Growden

As the Wallabies slip to a demoralising seventh in the world rankings, it is high time an asleep-at-the-wheel Rugby Australia board got its act together and makes immediate changes to the team management structure.

If the RA directors are serious about dragging Australian Rugby out of its biggest crisis in decades, it must dismantle the flawed Wallabies coaching contingent and bring in new blood, new ideas and new strategies... right now.

With exactly a year to go before the World Cup, they must do all they can to attract from overseas the best coaching candidates, because losing to Argentina for the first time on Australian soil in 35 years reinforced a long standing fact that the Wallabies are not responding to their head coach Michael Cheika. The message is not getting through, so a new message is required.

Also ignore Cheika's media pals who babble on about how there's no one out there to replace either him or his assistant coaches who are under similar pressure after repeatedly failing to revive this flagging outfit. A lure of a World Cup coaching position is tantalising and could easily entice someone of a high calibre.

If the most obvious candidate in Joe Schmidt is supposedly locked in with Ireland, then why not try numerous other highly capable and successful New Zealand coaches. Dave Rennie, currently with Glasgow Warriors, is a coach deeply admired and respected in Chiefs territory, after taking them to two Super Rugby titles - and would bring decorum back to the Wallabies ranks. He is a coach players deeply respect, and has something to prove at international level.

It is the same with the Crusaders mastermind Scott Robertson, who has been a phenomena the past two Super Rugby seasons. He's another who understands the rugby zeitgeist. There's also Vern Cotter at Montpellier, who revitalised Scotland. Former Springboks coach Jake White is hovering - as a one-year World Cup specialist. Remember White and former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones worked wonders in securing Springbok success at the 2007 World Cup.

If you want Australian input, David Nucifora must be doing something right as Ireland Rugby's high performance director, while Scott Johnson, Scotland's director of rugby, has a wealth of knowledge and understands the Wallabies beast.

Each one would bring much needed sanity back to the Wallabies ranks. And each one must be sounded out by Rugby Australia board members. If not, the directors should depart as well, because they are not doing their job and don't have the interests of Australian Rugby as their number one priority.

ESPN understands that approaches to several overseas coaches were made recently, especially with Cheika losing the support of several influential Rugby Australia officials. Some one-on-one relationships at RA's Moore Park headquarters have in recent weeks cooled appreciably. Cheika is not as safe as those in the "Former Wallabies inner sanctum back-scratching club" are making out.

That's understandable, because the Cheika statistics are damning.

Cheika, who took over from Ewen McKenzie just 10 months before the 2015 World Cup, boasts an underwhelming 50 percent success rate from 52 Tests. This year, he has only enjoyed two wins from seven internationals - six of which have been played at home. After a spirited but scrappy win over the Springboks the previous weekend, they went through their usual routine of immediately dropping a gear, again showing an inability to enjoy back-to-back Test wins. Now the Wallabies are on the road to Port Elizabeth and Salta - and with it the likelihood of two more drubbings.

Since the 2015 World Cup, Cheika's coaching record is dreadful - only 15 wins from 36 Tests, a success rate of 41 percent.

It also appears to be a regime out of control. What was going on when Cheika made the strange decision to replace Matt Toomua after just 49 minutes? Toomua looked completely bewildered on the sideline, as Wallabies team manager Pat Molihan checked his clipboard, before telling him he had to go off because Bernard Foley was already on the field.

Why replace one of the most reliable and experienced attacking players, when Kurtley Beale was skittish at best while Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty were hardly transforming the game? This was dreadful match management. Toomua would have been an asset in the final quarter of the game. No wonder he appeared stunned.

Then again, there appeared to be similar sideline confusion during the Sydney All Blacks Test, where midway during the game it appeared the Wallabies were about to replace a prop with a hooker. Maybe a late change of mind coincided with a blast down the two-way radio line. Adding to the silliness was assistant coach Stephen Larkham's failure as a stand-up comedian during the week. Larkham tried to send up Argentinean coach Mario Ledesma, who used to be part of the Wallabies coaching contingent, by saying he couldn't believe he was now a head coach because he 'struggled as an assistant coach.'

Dumb statements have a way of biting one back, especially as Ledesma responded with the more truthful line that Larkham's province, the Brumbies, had the worst attack in Super Rugby. That's impossible to dispute. Under Larkham, not much is happening either with the Wallabies attack.

Game, set and match to Ledesma.

As crucially, Cheika and Co. have lost the rugby heartland. Australian Test crowds and match revenue has dropped alarmingly this season, and those who do attend are deeply disenchanted. This includes infuriated fans jeering and berating those in the Australian coach's box after the Wallabies' dreadful loss to the All Blacks in Sydney, and scuffles involving spectators and players following the Gold Coast defeat.

When you have Australian players saying they aren't working hard enough, or lack enthusiasm, it is a clear indicator the Wallaby culture is in need of a serious change.

Combine that with a poor skill level of skill, a serious lack of on-field intelligence, an average lineout plus a back-row that failed to make any impact, and you have a floundering outfit in desperate need of a new locomotive and train driver.

Israel Folau is getting all the blame for the loss by selfishly trying to score himself in the final seconds, squandering an excellent attacking opportunity to his right. But there were countless other excruciating moments just before that, including a madcap pass by Nick Phipps that sailed over the sideline and Folau Faingaa's brain-dead breakdown penalty. Australia did not deserve to win this Test, and could have lost by a lot more, as Argentina suffered three disallowed tries.

The answer is simple. RA officials must throw the net and snare one of the many capable head coaches out there who can bring an end to this sorry mess. A new, considered voice so often revitalises lost souls.