McKenzie set to pass Deans

Move over Robbie Deans, Ewen McKenzie is set to pass you. No, the Queensland Reds director of coaching isn't taking over the Wallabies, but on Friday he will become the most capped coach in Super Rugby. [more]

McKenzie set to pass Deans

Move over Robbie Deans, Ewen McKenzie is set to pass you. No, the Queensland Reds director of coaching isn’t taking over the Wallabies, but on Friday he will become the most capped coach in Super Rugby.

His Reds side is in New Zealand to face the Hurricanes in the opening game of round seven this weekend and that will be his 121st game in charge in the tournament, taking him past Deans’ former record.

McKenzie, who is set to leave the Reds at the end of the season, has been linked with potential international coaching jobs in Scotland and Ireland, but is looking to round off his time in Brisbane with a third Aussie Conference title in a row.

He also has the small matter of preparing his side to meet the British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 8 June. As a player, he faced the Lions for Australia B in 1989, losing 23-18, so revenge will be high on his list.

The Brumbies are currently setting the pace in Super Rugby and have already beaten the Reds at home. With Will Genia and James Horwill now happily restored to his starting line-up, alongside Quade Cooper, McKenzie is almost playing with a full deck of cards once again.

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"Regardless of personal milestones, beating the Highlanders in New Zealand for the first time in the professional era is the team milestone that is most important and where our focus is," said McKenzie, who enjoyed 66 matches with the Waratahs from 2003-08 and will celebrate his 55th with Queensland this weekend.

"Our past against the Highlanders isn't something we are happy about, but we've been very good about creating new history around this team and knocking off those unwanted records.

"It's a piece of history we can take into the game as motivation while we also want to go into our bye with a win and in the right space mentally.”

The Reds haven’t won in Dunedin since 1981 and currently boast a 4-2 record this season following defeats to the Brumbies and the Western Force. With the Brumbies leading the Super Rugby table, the Reds need a win to stay in touch at the top.

The game will also see Wallaby centre Anthony Faingaa play his 50th game for the Reds in just his fifth season with the franchise.

"Congratulations to Anthony for reaching his 50th game. He's a player we have an extremely high opinion of and that we've pushed into a leadership space. He's the ultimate team player and we all wish him well on Friday night," added McKenzie.

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