Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mac is getting pushy

Origional story by AAP

McKenzie to query ARU about Wallaby job

Tuesday January 3, 3:59 PM

NSW Waratahs mentor Ewen McKenzie has as many questions to ask of the Australian Rugby Union as it will of him when he fronts the peak body about the national coaching role.
Applications for the position, which became vacant when Eddie Jones was sacked last month, are due by January 13 and, while McKenzie has yet to even apply, his busy Super 14 schedule is expected to mean he will be one of the first interviewed.

The ARU has indicated it would like to fill the role sometime in February and early favourite McKenzie is keen to know just what's involved in terms of how other coaching staff and personnel fit into the equation.

"It might be a two-way interview," he quipped.
"It's a question of what the structure is in the end and that's what's delayed the whole process - putting that together."
"The $64 question is - what are you applying for; what are you applying to do?
"I don't know if it is an orthodox coaching job or otherwise - so I guess when that becomes a bit clearer people will work out whether it suits them."
Jones was very much known as a stand alone coach who had exacting standards of his support staff but ultimately took responsibility for all key decisions.
In his time with the Waratahs, McKenzie has shown more of an egalitarian streak, involving and praising the work of his assistants more readily.
"I'm certainly not getting stressed about it because I'm focused on getting the job I've actually got right. It would be easy to lose your focus and get everything wrong," McKenzie said..
"I just can't see (other applicants) downing tools and walking away to what they are committed to already."
McKenzie has his plate full with the Waratahs with official training starting this week and NSW's three major trials and the opening three games of the Super 14 - starting February 10 - all away fixtures against Queensland, the Stormers and the Bulls.
There is also a three-day country tour starting on Wednesday.
The Waratahs' Wallabies representatives won't start training until next week at which point McKenzie will have some serious positional decisions to contemplate.
The success of Mat Rogers - who was given compassionate leave from NSW following the death of his father Steve - at five-eighth during the Wallabies' tour and the move of Lote Tuqiri from wing to centre gives the coach food for thought.
"I will sit down and talk to (Mat). I haven't had a detailed discussion with him yet, we'll just see how he comes back.
"Obviously we are aware of his desires.
"(But) how we start the game might not be as important as where and how people play throughout the game."
McKenzie said Brumbies recruit and five-eighth Sam Norton-Knight had been very impressive in pre-season training while he'd have to closely consider what he did with rookie forwards Tatafu Polota-Nau and Leroy Houston, who played for Australia in their European tour but had not yet played Super 12.
"We don't want to be heaping too much pressure on these guys - they are only young kids coming out of programs," he said.
"It's great that they've got the opportunity so early but we have to consolidate and make sure they have got the requisite skills."

The official Waratah site run this piece on the coach.

McKenzie Committed to HSBC Waratahs for 2006 Committed for 2006 .. HSBC Waratahs head coach Ewen McKenzieFriday, December 02, 2005NSWRU Media Unit

HSBC Waratahs head coach Ewen McKenzie has affirmed his commitment to NSW for the inaugural 2006 Super 14 season following the departure of Wallaby coach Eddie Jones.
However, McKenzie said he will nominate for the national coaching position when the ARU calls for applications.
"I've always said that if the job becomes available down the track, then I would apply for it." McKenzie said at training today.
"I'm fully committed to coaching the Waratahs next year but see no reason why I couldn't make the transition to the national job immediately afterwards, if I was the successful candidate."
Despite having two more years to run on his NSW contract, McKenzie has the full backing of NSW Rugby if he chooses to apply for the Australian head coaching position.
"We fully support Ewen's ambition to be Wallaby coach and will not stand in his way if he is selected," said NSWRU Chairman, Arvid Petersen.
"Part of our role is to produce coaches as well as players and if the ARU chooses Ewen as its next mentor then we will release him at the end of the Super 14 season."
NSWRU Chief Executive Officer Fraser Neill said Ewen has already left a lasting legacy with succession planning playing a large part.
"Ewen has assembled an extremely talented group of coaches and management staff since taking over two years ago and together they have formed a culture of excellence which is to be admired.
"NSW has always believed in Ewen's coaching ability and that's why we renewed his contract after year one.
"We are in a very strong position structurally and that means after Ewen's third Super 12/14 season next year, NSW Rugby will continue to thrive even if he his snapped up by the ARU."

Position: Tighthead Prop
Born: 21.6.65, Sydney, NSW
Test Caps: 51 Australia (1988-1997)
State Caps: 37 NSW (1987-1995)
Coaching: 1999 - 2000 ACT Brumbies, 2000-2003 Australian Wallabies, 2004 - present NSW Waratahs
Ewen McKenzie was appointed Head Coach of the HSBC Waratahs prior to the start of the 2004 Super 12 season, his first head coaching role. He led the team to the 2005 Super 12 final in just his second year at the helm.
His experience is vast, after being involved in close to 100 Tests as a player or coach.
Prior to joining the Waratahs, Ewen spent four years with the Wallabies under Rod Macqueen then Eddie Jones. His technical knowledge of forward play is without peer. He was also involved in a coaching capacity with the ACT for three seasons.
His playing record includes a World Cup win and 51 Test caps, the most by any Australian prop. Ewen was part of the legendary all Randwick front row of Daly, Kearns & McKenzie that dominated Test Rugby in the early 1990s.
Ewen played in a Super 12 final with the ACT (1997) and was capped 37 times for NSW between 1987 and 1995.

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