Wallabies finalise coaching team
August 5, 2013
Jim McKay will mastermind the Wallabies' attack © Getty Images
McKenzie has appointed McKay to the role of Wallabies attack coach as part of his inaugural coaching set-up, which also includes Nick Scrivener and Andrew Blades as team's defence and set-piece coaches respectively. McKay has been contracted until the end of Rugby World Cup 2015.
"Over the past four years Ewen McKenzie and Jim McKay consistently delivered high levels of success for the Queensland Reds, and they now have an opportunity to continue their partnership for the benefit of the Wallabies," Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver said. "To have appointed two Queenslanders in quick succession to the national team highlights the health of the game in Queensland."
McKenzie headhunted McKay to the Reds from the Leicester Tigers Academy in 2010, bringing with him a winning strike rate of more than 80& in 14 seasons. McKay won a Super Rugby title in just his second year with Queensland in 2011, when the Reds broke their Super Rugby season try-scoring record that had stood since 1996.
Scrivener and Blades, meanwhile, will continue in their second year with the Wallabies to form a strong four-man coaching group alongside McKenzie and McKay.
Scrivener, who has extensive coaching experience in Australia and abroad, was added to the set-up when hired as coaching assistant in 2012. He was a member of the Brumbies' coaching staff for 10 seasons, winning two Super Rugby titles, and has worked as an assistant coach with the Australia Under 21 and Australia A teams. He has also worked at the ARU's National Academy and as head coach of Scotland A and defence coach with Edinburgh.
Blades is currently in his second stint with the Wallabies, after taking up a role with Australia in 2004, and he will continue to be responsible for the team's scrum and lineout. He coached Combined Queensland- New South Wales Country to perform creditably against the British & Irish Lions in June.
Wallabies Coaching Staff
McKenzie said the coaching group had combined successfully during the early stages.
"We've effectively ended up with two new faces and two existing coaches, which has allowed us to morph things in the direction where we see opportunity, while also protecting continuity in areas where the team is already functioning productively," McKenzie said.
"The structure has now moved away from the traditional forwards and backs concept because that polarises training. By coaching as an attack, defence or set piece, it allows us to coach and train in a more game-like manner.
"Within all of that, I'll concentrate more on the team elements around the tactics and the game-plan, along with the breakdown, and then work on blending the skills of all three coaches together. Right now, I really think we've got a good mix between technical and tactical.
"The group also has varying levels of experience but we all have coached multiple teams in different environments, both in Australia and Europe. That has helped as we come together quickly and hopefully will allow us to get off to a strong start."
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