Wallaby legend Mark Ella believes the Lions may beat his countrymen in two years’ time unless the Tri Nations Champions change tack pretty quickly.
Australia ended their World Cup campaign with victory over Wales in the third place play-off on Friday but Ella doesn’t see them progressing any further under their current coaching staff.
Wallaby boss Robbie Deans has signed a contract extension that will see him remain in charge beyond the Lions tour but critics are claiming Reds coach Ewen McKenzie should be given the nations’ top job sooner rather than later.
And Ella, who is widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest fly-halves, believes there are fundamental flaws in Dean’s coaching strategy that won’t be addressed unless the New Zealander is relieved of his position.
"We needed players with experience but Deans is a coach that wants to go with all these young guys," said Ella, who retired from the sport at the age of just 25 having starred on the Wallabies’ Grand Slam winning tour of 1984.
"That's been a problem all along. It's great to have young and exciting players but you need to have experience in the team somewhere.”
Australia lost to Ireland in the group stages before being beaten in the semi-finals by tournament favourites New Zealand as Deans opted to put his faith in a host of players in their early 20s.
Ella is convinced that the Wallabies must blend youth and experience if it they are to succeed on the biggest stages of them all but he can’t see that happening before the Lions arrive Down Under in 19 months’ time.
"We just weren't good enough – that's the simple fact,” added Ella.
“The Australian Rugby Union will protect Robbie and make all the excuses but nothing much will change."