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Ewen McKenzie confirmed as Australia boss after Robbie Deans resigns

Updated: Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 11:30 | Comments

Ewen McKenzie is the new Australia coach
Ewen McKenzie is the new Australia coach

Ewen McKenzie has been confirmed as Australia's new head coach following Robbie Deans' resignation.

Deans stood down following the Wallabies' 2-1 series defeat against the British and Irish Lions and the Australian Rugby Union has now confirmed former Test prop McKenzie as his successor.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said: "Having established the necessary criteria, and spoken to the relevant people, we were convinced that Ewen was now the man to take the Qantas Wallabies forward."

"Robbie resigning in the wake of the Lions Tour did not catch us unprepared to move forward with a replacement." - Australian Rugby Union

Deans' resignation came after the Wallabies' 41-16 defeat in Saturday's third Test against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney, which saw the tourists complete a 2-1 series win.

An ARU statement read: "Qantas Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans has announced this morning he is stepping down from the role effective immediately."

The governing body had already been reviewing Deans' performance as he approached the end of his contract, which was due to expire at the end of the year.

"We have been conducting that due diligence over the last few months, taking into account broad criteria for coach selection," Pulver said.

"Consideration was given to leadership skills, discipline, coaching capability, coaching records, and important factors such as character, values and style of play.

"Therefore, we were well prepared depending on how the year unfolded.

"Robbie resigning in the wake of the Lions Tour did not catch us unprepared to move forward with a replacement.

"(McKenzie's) opportunity comes quickly, with the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and the opening match of that competition - the Bledisloe Cup showdown with the All Blacks on August 17."

McKenzie represented Australia in 51 Tests and was part of the World Cup-winning squad of 1991.

He served as their assistant coach for three years under Rod McQueen and then Eddie Jones in the early 2000s and subsequently coached the Australia A team.

At club level he has led the the Waratahs and Stade Francais before his most recent assignment at Queensland Reds, with whom he won the Super Rugby title in 2011 and topped the Australian conference again the following year.

He said at a press conference today: "I'm really pleased to be able to accept the job of Wallaby coach.

"I'm pretty proud right now, pretty privileged to be able to get that opportunity.

"Right here and now I've been asked to do a very specific job, that job starts in five weeks' time. There's no better coaching assignment than to pit yourself against the All Blacks.

"I've played and coached in a bunch of Bledisloe Cup games and to get another crack at the All Blacks is terrific. I'm really looking forward to the challenge of taking them on and from that, good things can flow.

"It's a really important time in Australian rugby. On the field, people will worry about where the Wallabies are at. I'm looking forward to the challenge of making a difference in that and in the game as a whole."

Deans, who led the Wallabies in 74 Tests having been appointed following the 2007 World Cup, took his leave following the 41-16 defeat to the Lions in Sydney that sealed a 2-1 series win for the tourists.

He said: "I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in Australian rugby for their support through the duration of my tenure. It has been a rewarding five years and I am proud of all that we have achieved.

"Most especially I would like to thank the players for their efforts and wish them all the best going forward."

Pulver added: "Robbie came into the job in 2008, improved our away record almost immediately, delivered a Tri Nations title in 2011 and has been a significant part of a Lions Tour that overshadows any other rugby event in Australia since the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

"We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and to build further on what is one of world rugby's most impressive coaching resumes."

New Zealand-born Deans led the Wallabies to third place in the 2011 World Cup and to the Tri Nations title the same year but never delivered the Bledisloe Cup - the trophy presented for series between Australia and the All Blacks.

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