9 Jul 2013

New Wallabies coach has sympathy for Deans

6:43 pm on 9 July 2013

Ewen McKenzie has been appointed Australia rugby coach after the Australian Rugby Union decided to part ways with New Zealander Robbie Deans.

The 53-year-old Deans, who had been Australia's first foreign coach, led the team for 74 tests in his five-and-a-half years in charge, a record for a Wallabies coach.

McKenzie, is a popular local choice who guided the Queensland Reds to a maiden Super Rugby title in 2011, will take the reins six weeks before they play the opening match of the Rugby Championship against the All Blacks.

The former Wallabies prop had put his hand up for the role earlier in the year and has been appointed to the role ahead of South African World Cup-winning coach Jake White, who's now at the ACT Brumbies.

Deans's tenure was marred by disciplinary problems and a number of off-field distractions during the Lions series.

Nicknamed Dingo Deans, under him the Wallabies won a modest 43 out of 74 tests, with victories in just three of his 18 tests against the All Blacks.

McKenzie's first assignment with Australia is against the All Blacks in Sydney next month, in the opening match of the Rugby Championship.