By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )
Ewen McKenzie has officially been announced as the new Head Coach of the Australian Wallabies.
After a 2-1 series defeat to the British and Irish Lions, Robbie Deans stood down as Head Coach on Monday paving the way for the former Australian prop to take the national reigns.
The official announcement was made in a press conference by Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver this afternoon.
McKenzie has done what many have described as the perfect apprenticeship leading up to the role having stared as Coaching Coordinator at the ACT Brumbies then moving on to the Assistant Coach to Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones for the Australian team from 2000 to 2003, NSW Waratahs coach, Stade Francais coach and most recently the Queensland Reds.
McKenzie expressed his feelings about the appointment saying: “I’m pretty proud right now, pretty privileged to get the opportunity.”
Bill Pulver went on to justify the reasoning behind selecting McKenzie by stating: “The wallabies deserved the very best coach they can get so from my perspective Ewen’s getting this purely on his merits, not because he’s Australian.”
McKenzie was questioned about possible changes to the squad and said, “The players that are there, are there for a reason,”
“There’s no point changing for the sake of change.”
When asked about Quade Cooper and James O’Connor he said: “I’ve got strong opinions about lots of players but until I sit in front of them and talk to them, actually see them on the training field [there wont be changes].”
“I am an ex-Wallaby so I have a very strong opinion about what that means, being an ex-player.”
“When I was a coach and a player I was there when the team was successful, so I think I understand what it takes and the sacrifices you need to make to be able to be successful at that level.”
McKenzie’s first mission will be the Rugby Championship and the Bledsoe Cup against the All Blacks, and he “can’t wait for the challenge”.
pic: sky sports