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Waratahs narrow list for new coach

By Adrian Warren 21/04/2008 07:37:47 PM Comments (0)

NSW Rugby Union boss Jim L'Estrange was on Monday night culling the list of candidates for the Waratahs coaching position, as the incumbent Ewen McKenzie prepared to lead the team into a Super home game for possibly the last time.

L'Estrange said the first round of interviews had been completed and he would conduct a teleconference to pare the initial double-digit list down.

"We're going to the second stage, which is taking three or four people through to interviews with (former Wallabies) Jeff Miller and Michael Hawker over the next week," L'Estrange told AAP.

"Hopefully the last three or four will be advised in the next few days and we will start the second interviews later this week or early next week and we'll be finished by the end of this month.

"We are on target to have a recommendation to the board by the end of the first week in May."

He declined to reveal how many on the final shortlist were locally based or domiciled overseas and was philosophical that early favourite Todd Louden, the Waratahs attack coach, had accepted a post in Japan next year.

"He's elected to take an opportunity overseas, we support him for that," L'Estrange said.

With the Waratahs having won four in a row, some critics suggested L'Estrange acted prematurely in replacing McKenzie, but he defended the decision.

"I think it's always about looking forward," L'Estrange said.

"We made the decision knowing we were looking for a new personality to take the team through from 2009, it was nothing to do with 2008."

McKenzie hadn't even dwelt on the possibility Saturday's clash with the Sharks could be his final game as NSW coach in Sydney unless the Waratahs earn a home semi-final.

"I haven't even thought about that, we'll see what happens, hopefully (it's) not (my last home game)," McKenzie said.

McKenzie, who has been interviewed about an imminent coaching vacancy at French club Stade Francais, was philosophical about his departure despite the Waratahs' recent run of four straight wins.

"That is just life, we all make decisions and that's just the way it is, sometimes you make your own sometimes you don't, but I don't sit and worry about that," McKenzie said.

Recuperating Waratahs Rocky Elsom and Timana Tahu successfully came through some running tests in Centennial Park on Monday.

McKenzie said he hadn't anticipated flanker Elsom and back Tahu recovering quite as quickly, but stressed he had always been thinking about regaining their services for the South African leg of the Waratahs' campaign rather than for this week's match.

"Timana has been out for five weeks and Rocky for three, so we've developed the game a fair bit since they've last played, so there's a lot of catching up to do, on the intellectual side of the game," McKenzie said.

The NSW coach said he rated the Sharks pretty highly and thought "their pretty accomplished pack" would provide a very good test for the Waratahs' forwards.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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