McKenzie not up for Wallaby job - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McKenzie not up for Wallaby job

By Glenn Cullen 09/01/2006 07:40:13 PM Comments (0)

A handsome extended contract with NSW and a meeting with the Australian Rugby Union selection panel members have played their part in Ewen McKenzie's decision not to apply for the Wallabies' coaching position.

Waratahs mentor McKenzie, who locked in his contract with the Super 14 side through to 2008 on Monday, was thought to be at the top of the ARU's list of candidates until his shock withdrawal on Sunday.

McKenzie on Monday cited "family reasons" and "unfinished business at NSW" as his major influences for not putting his hand up for the post but the change of tune had come off the back of a mid-week meeting with Simon Poidevin and Rod Macqueen to discuss specifics of the role.

The former Wallaby prop had told AAP last Monday he had questions about the structure of the position and whether it was an "orthodox coaching job".

While McKenzie would not talk about specifics from that meeting, it became clear the role wasn't for him - at least at this point in time.

He admitted there was also a "gut feeling" attached to not applying for the job.

"I think it was reported probably a week ago I had some concerns," he said.

"I had a meeting with Rod Macqueen and Simon Poidevin last week. I guess in that meeting I was wearing my NSW hat.

"In the course of that some of the issues I probably had were discussed but in the end I'm the one that had to make the decision and I am very comfortable with the one I've made.

"I've had a very measured look at the situation and I just feel at this point in time it's the right decision. I still harbour interest in coaching the Wallabies down the track - I've said that all along and that hasn't changed - but right here and now I want to keep doing what I'm doing."

Former Reds mentor John Connolly looms as the major candidate for the post while Auckland's David Nucifora and Wales assistant Scott Johnson are also contenders, with ARU chief executive Gary Flowers not ruling out an international appointment.

A decision was expected by month's end or early in February.

"Certainly Ewen presented as a strong candidate but at this point in time we are continuing on with the (interview) process," Flowers said.

"The process is by no means anywhere near completion and Ewen, I think, has does us a favour by saying at this point in time he is not a candidate."

Macqueen said on Monday he would be surprised if anything specifically from their meeting turned MacKenzie off the Wallaby mentor's job.

"He indicated to us that he was very happy with the criteria," Macqueen said.

"I am very sure from the discussions we had it was all very amicable."

Meanwhile MacKenzie said on Monday he'd let Mat Rogers decide when he'd return to the Waratahs fold after the tragic death of his father Steve.

"We've kept it open ended," McKenzie said.

"He's a good enough player to be able to walk in here when he needs to and pick things up.

"In the end he has to feel comfortable."

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