McKenzie quits Wallabies post

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Ewen McKenzie has resigned as Australia head coach.

The Australian Rugby Union announced 49-year-old McKenzie’s decision in a statement following the Wallabies’ dramatic 29-28 defeat against world champions New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.

McKenzie led Australia in 22 Tests since starting the role in August last year.

His departure comes just a fortnight before the Wallabies’ European tour opens with a game against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Australia then go on to face Wales, France, Ireland and England on successive weekends.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said it is hoped that McKenzie’s successor as head coach will be in place before the squad leaves for Europe next Friday.

It is thought that 47-year-old New South Wales Waratahs boss and former Leinster chief Michael Cheika is in pole position to take over, although former South Africa national coach Jake White will inevitably have his admirers.

“We hope to have the new head coach in place before the team leaves for the spring tour on Friday,” Pulver said on the ARU’s official website.

“Criteria for the role includes identifying a coach who can lead us to victory in next year’s Rugby World Cup, represents rugby’s core values, has the support of the playing group and is available.

“As part of this process, we will also identify structural improvements to the off-field element of the Wallabies, with a senior leadership role to be created to support the team.

“We will work with the incoming coach on that structure, with a solution to be in place as soon as possible.”

Australia were undone by a last-gasp converted try against the All Blacks after producing one of their best performances since McKenzie took charge.

And Pulver revealed that McKenzie had informed him of his decision to quit earlier in the day.

“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me on Saturday morning of his intention to resign, regardless of the result.

“Ewen is a world-class coach and a world-class individual who has been committed to playing entertaining rugby for our fans since he started in the role.

“During his tenure, he has overseen a seven-match winning streak, drew against the All Blacks and beat South Africa – all achievements that had not been met in the previous year.

“We sincerely wish Ewen well for the future, professionally and personally.”

Published: Saturday 18th October 2014 by The News Editor

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