Australia Rugby
McKenzie confirmed as Wallaby candidate
ESPNscrum Staff
January 23, 2012
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie offers some instruction, Reds v Blues, Super Rugby semi-final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 2, 2011
Ewen McKenzie led the Reds to the Super Rugby title last season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Robbie Deans | Ewen McKenzie | John O'Neill
Tournaments/Tours: Rugby Championship | Super Rugby

Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie would be a "fantastic candidate" to be the next Australia head coach, according to Australian Rugby Unioin chief executive John O'Neill.

McKenzie signed a new contract extention until 2014 earlier this month after leading the Reds to the Super Rugby title last season. He is widely regarded as one of the leading candidates to replace Robbie Deans, if and when the Wallabies coach leaves his post.

Deans has a contract with Australia until 2013. Despite securng the 2011 Tri-Nations title and finishing third in the 2011 World Cup, the former Crusaders coach could come under increased pressure should the Wallabies fail to perform against the British and Irish Lions, who tour in 2013.

"To speculate in January 2012 on the Wallabies coaching role post Robbie Deans' current term in December 2013 is not particularly useful," O'Neill told the Australian.

"It was clearly stated by me at a media conference in Auckland a few days after the Wallabies' World Cup semi-final loss to the All Blacks that Ewen McKenzie did feature in our succession plans.

"If and when the Wallabies coaching role becomes vacant, Ewen McKenzie would be a fantastic candidate, but it would be up to him to decide if he wanted to apply for the role.

"I'm sure no one is suggesting a Kirribilli agreement should be entered into. We all know that two years is a long time in sport."

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