By Lee Stace
QUEENSLAND REDS coach Ewen McKenzie has to be the frontrunner to succeed Robbie Deans as Wallabies coach.
McKenzie has been spoken about as a possible successor before, but his stocks have risen considerably following the Reds’ inspired 19-6 victory over Stormers in Cape Town last weekend.
The former Wallabies prop made a staggering nine changes – I repeat, nine changes – to his side for that crunch match. It was bold stuff, and most thought he had gone bonkers.
But it proved to be a masterstroke. In test match-like conditions, the Reds thrived as they smashed the unbeaten Stormers into submission with some heavy-hitting defence.
The players may have done the job on the field, but it was McKenzie who devised the blueprint for success.
McKenzie has always been a capable coach. He was certainly the best the Waratahs have ever had, taking the Sydneysiders to two Super Rugby finals and a semifinal during his four years in charge.
And we’ve all seen how he has transformed the Reds from competition easy-beats to genuine title contenders during his two years with the team.
Given his track record so far, it will only be a matter of time before he is handed an international post.
What do you think? Will Ewen McKenzie be the next Wallabies coach?
There are plenty of mouth-watering clashes on offer this weekend.
Which player was unlucky to miss out on the All Blacks’ wider training squad?
Gordon Tietjens’ success in sevens is unrivalled and should place him in the same coaching league as Sir Alex Ferguson.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen named a 38-man training squad and there are a couple of oversights worth highlighting