McKenzie ready for Wallaby challlenge

Incoming Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said he felt humbled at being appointed to succeed Robbie Deans and can't wait to meet his new challenge head-on. [more]

McKenzie ready for Wallaby challlenge

Incoming Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said he felt humbled at being appointed to succeed Robbie Deans and can’t wait to meet his new challenge head-on.

The 48-year-old McKenzie, who won 51 caps in the Australian front row, has long been seen as the man in waiting to take over as national coach and was due to step down from his role at Queensland Reds later this year.

His chance to lead the Wallabies comes sooner than expected after Deans’ decided to offer his resignation after last weekend’s crushing Test defeat by the British & Irish Lions and he has five weeks to get his new side ready for the Rugby Championship

“To coach the Wallabies is a huge honour and also a special opportunity to lead a team that I’ve enjoyed many great experiences with in the past as both a player and coach,” said McKenzie.

“As a role at the highest level, it’s one I aspire to because I truly believe I’m ready to make a difference on many levels. It’s not a role without challenges, but is also one that comes with great opportunity and a chance to influence the current state of Rugby both on and off the field.

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“There’s no denying that Rugby functions within a hugely competitive sporting landscape and it’s important that the Qantas Wallabies are viewed as a central part of it and that the Australian Rugby brand is providing inspiration for our fans and the next generation of players.

“There are so many positives this game brings and by unifying all its parts and working efficiently together we can create a culture and structure whereby the Wallabies are consistently successful at the highest level in the biggest games.

“There is a significant opportunity with the Rugby Championship commencing in August and I think everyone is looking forward to getting to work and tackling the challenges ahead.”

McKenzie tangled with the Linos earlier in their tour when his Queensland Reds side, minus their Wallaby stars, scored two tries in a 22-12 defeat at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Meet Ewen McKenzie

Born in Melbourne on 21 June 1965 Ewen McKenzie won 51 Test caps as a Wallaby between 1990 and 1997. He was a member of the victorious 1991 Rugby World Cup winning side, forming a formidable front row combination with Tony Daley and Phil Kearns. At state level he played 37 times for NSW between 1987-1995 and another 24 times for the Brumbies at Super Rugby level between 1996-1997 – including an appearance in the Brumbies 1997 Super 12 final loss to the Blues.

Following his retirement from playing in 1997 he took up the role of Coaching Co-ordinator at the Brumbies. His two year stint at the Canberra based franchise included a Super 12 semi-final. In 2000 he moved into the Wallabies coaching staff as an Assistant Coach and Coaching Co-ordinator to both Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones. He also served as a National Selector during his thtee year stint as Wallabies Assistant Coach.

While a part of the Wallabies framework he enjoyed a number successes including two Tri-Nations titles, an historic series victory against the British & Irish Lions in 2001 and two Bledisloe Cup series triumphs. He was also the Wallabies Assistant Coach at the 2003 RWC, where Australia lost the final in extra time.

In November 2003, he succeeded Bob Dwyer as Head Coach of the Waratahs. Two years later he led the team to the 2005 Super 12 final. The following year he steered the side to the 2006 semi-final and two years later took the Waratahs to the 2008 final. He remains the Waratahs’ longest serving coach and during his stint at the Waratahs he also took on the role of Australia A coach for the 2005 season.

After finishing up with the Waratahs at the end of 2008, he travelled to France, taking up the Head Coaching position at Stade Francais Paris, where he led the side to the Top 14 semi-final in his first and only year at the club. In 2010 he joined the Queensland Reds where he steered the team to fifth place, their highest finish since 2002.

In 2011 he enjoyed the ultimate success as a coach, guiding the Reds to their first Super Rugby Championship in the professional era. The Super Rugby title came after the Reds finished the regular season on top of the competition ladder with 13 victories and just three losses. In 2012 he once again led the Reds to the top of the Australian Conference and the Super Rugby play-offs.

Coaching Appointments
Qantas Wallabies Coach – 2013 –
Director of Coaching, Queensland Reds – 2013
Head Coach, Queensland Reds – 2010 – 2012
Head Coach, Stade Francais – 2009
Head Coach, Australia A – 2005
Head Coach, Waratahs – 2003 – 2008
Assistant Coach/Coaching Coordinator, Wallabies – 2000 – 2003
Coaching Coordinator, ACT Brumbies – 1998 – 2000

Coaching Achievements
Super Rugby Australian Conference Winners – 2011 – 2012 (Queensland Reds)
Super Rugby Championship – 2011 (Queensland Reds)
France Top 14 Semi-Finalists – 2009 (Stade Francais)
Super Rugby Semi-Finalists – 2006 (Waratahs)
Super Rugby Finalists – 2005 and 2008 (Waratahs)
Rugby World Cup Finalist – 2003 (Wallabies)
British & Irish Lions Series Winners – 2001 (Wallabies)
Tri Nations Winners – 2000 and 2001 (Wallabies)
Bledisloe Cup Winners – 2000 and 2001 (Wallabies)
Super Rugby Finalists – 2000 (Brumbies)

Playing Career
Australia (1988-1997)
World XV (1992)
NSW Waratahs (1987-1995)
ACT Brumbies (1996-1997)
Harlequins (Melbourne)
Paris University

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