Under-fire Wallabies coach quits

2014-10-18 14:43

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Sydney – Under-fire Australia coach Ewen McKenzie resigned today a few hours before the Wallabies were beaten 29-28 by world champions New Zealand in Brisbane, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has said.

McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans just over a year ago, had come under pressure over the last two weeks for his role in the row over offensive text messages Kurtley Beale allegedly sent to a team official in June.

He was forced to deny he had been involved in an intimate relation with Di Patston, the official in question, and faced the accusation that he had lost the support of senior players over her role with the team.

The defeat to the All Blacks was a third straight loss for the Wallabies after defeats in South Africa and Argentina over the last month and left McKenzie with a 50% winning record in his 22 matches in charge.

“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me this morning of his intention to resign, regardless of tonight’s result,” ARU chief Bill Pulver said.

“Ewen is a world-class coach and a world-class individual who has been committed to playing entertaining rugby for our fans since he started in the role.

“We sincerely wish Ewen well for the future professionally and personally.”

Pulver said he hoped to appoint a new coach before the end of the week when the Wallabies depart for their November tour of Europe.

Former Springbok coach Jake White, who was in the frame to replace Deans last year, and Michael Cheika, who led New South Wales Waratahs to the Super Rugby title this year, are likely to be leading candidates.

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