The Australian Touch Association have announced the coaching appointments for Australia’s Open teams, who will defend their World Number 1 ranking at the 2007 World Cup in South Africa. The calibre of candidates was extremely high and following an extensive process never before undertaken in the appointment of Touch coaches, the successful individuals were: Mens Open – Tony Trad Womens Open – Kerry Norman Mixed Open – Gary Madders The extended process included detailed analysis of applications, an interview, a practical presentation and performance appraisal of all candidates. The Panel included the National Coaching Director, a member of the Board of Directors, the National Technical Manager and an external representative from the Australian Sports Commission Coaching and Officiating division. The make-up of the Panel ensured that extensive analysis of the candidates was undertaken. Tony Trad led the Australian Mixed team to reclaim the Number 1 Mixed crown at the 2003 World Cup in Japan, having closed the gap on New Zealand mixed teams in the last two Trans Tasman campaigns. Kerry Norman was assistant coach of the Open Womens team that also successfully defended its world title in Japan and has also held the position of Australian womens 20s coach at the Youth World Cup in 2001. Gary Madders has been a successful Australian Youth coach in recent years and coach of the highly successful Womens Brisbane City Cobras team at the last national titles. The quality of candidates made the decision extremely difficult and the limited number of positions saw highly credentialed and qualified candidates miss out on an appointment. The national coaches will now work with Cathy Gray, ATA Elite Programs Director, in the selection of the National Training Squads at the 2004 National Touch League in March. The Squads will go into camp in June to start a program building to the World Cup in South Africa in January 2007. Assistant Coach positions have been opened, it is anticipated these will also be highly competitive. Australia and New Zealand are yet to agree on timing and location of the next major internationals, it is anticipated these will be negotiated before the 2004 National Touch League.