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Ewen McKenzie


Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie
Full name Ewen James McKenzie
Date of birth (1965-06-21) 21 June 1965 (age 49)
Place of birth Melbourne, Australia
School Scotch College, Melbourne
University University of New South Wales
Occupation(s) Rugby union Coach
Rugby union career
Current status
Position(s) Head Coach Australia
Playing career
Position Prop
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
NSW Waratahs
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1990–1997 Australia 51 (9)
Coaching career
Years Club / team
Australia (Head Coach)
Queensland Reds
Stade Français
NSW Waratahs
Australia (asst. coach)

Ewen James Andrew McKenzie is a former Australian Rugby union prop and now professional coach, who currently coaches Australia.[1]

Born 21 June 1965 in Melbourne, and educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and the University of New South Wales.,[2] McKenzie formerly coached the Super Rugby franchises Queensland Reds and New South Wales Waratahs, and also formerly coached the French club Stade Français.

Playing career

Ewen McKenzie played prop for the New South Wales Waratahs 37 times between 1987 and 1995 and for the Brumbies 36 times between 1996 and 1997, playing in the 1997 final against the Auckland Blues.

He represented Australia 51 times, earning his first cap in 21–9 victory over France on 9 June 1990,[3] before retiring from international rugby on 12 July 1997 after a 25–6 victory over England.[4] McKenzie was one of 24 players in the 1991 Rugby World Cup winning squad, and formed a formidable front row alongside Tony Daly and Phil Kearns.

In his entire career of 51 test matches, he only ever played as a substitute once, during a pool game in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.[5]

At state level he was capped 37 times for NSW between 1987 and 1995 and another 36 times for the Brumbies between 1996 and 1997, also playing in the 1997 Super 12 final. A product of Scotch College, Melbourne, Ewen was the second Victorian born and bred player to represent Australia after the great Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop.

In 1992, McKenzie toured New Zealand with the World XV to mark the centenary of the New Zealand Rugby Union. New Zealand won the series 2–1.[6]

Following his successful playing years, McKenzie is now one of the best Australian rugby coaches around.

Teams played for:

  • Australia (1988–1997)
  • World XV (1992)
  • NSW Waratahs (1987–1995)
  • ACT Brumbies (1996–1997)
  • Randwick
  • Harlequins (Melbourne)
  • Paris University

Coaching career

McKenzie started as coach as an assistant coach to Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones in the Wallabies setup between 2000 and 2003. He achieved coaching success at this level; winning the 2000 and 2001 Tri nations title, earning a 2–1 series victory over the British and Irish Lions during the 2001 tour, while capturing the Bledisloe Cup between 2000 and 2002.

McKenzie also assisted during the 2003 Rugby World Cup where Australia lost the final to England in extra time.

In November 2003, McKenzie succeeded Bob Dwyer as Head Coach of the New South Wales Waratahs. He led the team to the 2005 Super 12 final in his second year at the helm, and to the semi-final in 2006, before reaching the final again in 2008. Despite not coaching the Waratahs at current, he is the Waratahs longest serving coach in history.

McKenzie was also involved as a Coaching Coordinator with the ACT Brumbies for three seasons, including a Super Rugby semi-final. In 2005, he coached the now defunct Australia A team.

Following a successful 5-year tenure with the NSW Waratahs, McKenzie joined French club Stade Français in 2008, taking the side to the semi-final in the first year he was in charge. In 2009 he left the French set-up to return home to Australia, where he was announced as Director of Rugby for the Queensland Reds.

On Friday 9 October 2009 it was announced that McKenzie would be taking over the coaching job of the Queensland Reds in the Super 14. He became the club's seventh coach in 11 years.[7]

During his first year as Queensland Reds Director of Rugby, he took the side to 5th in the table, a significant rise from previous positions of the bottom 5 in the table. In his second year, the Reds won the 2011 Super Rugby season losing only 3 matches along the way. It was believed that McKenzie successfully transformed the Reds into the powerhouse Rugby province of Australia with the team's second straight conference title in 2012 coming only a year after guiding the team to their maiden Super Rugby championship in 2011.

In his first three years at the helm, Ewen contributed to the Reds winning every major piece of available silverware with the only trophy to elude the team during his opening two campaigns – the Rod Macqueen Cup – making its way to Queensland for the first time in 2012. Two successive victories over the Brumbies were the catalyst behind the Reds 2012 success as they again dominated their Australian rivals by winning seven of their eight matches against national opposition. Among other firsts, the Reds also claimed their maiden win at Eden Park.

Ewen first steered the team to fifth place and their highest finish since 2002 during his inaugural season in 2010. That success continued into 2011 when the Reds triumphed to win their first Super Rugby Championship in the professional Rugby era, coming after the Reds finished the regular season on top of the competition ladder with 13 victories and just three losses. Having devised a brand of Rugby that receives international acclaim, Ewen then guided the Reds to victory over the Blues in the semi-final and Crusaders in the final to score their first title since 1995.

The Reds had had several poor seasons and had not won back to back matches for several seasons but were transformed under McKenzie, playing an entertaining, expansive style which led them to a 5th place finish in 2010, narrowly missing out on playoff qualification, before making and then winning the Super Rugby Grand Final in 2011.

By 2012, commentaries on McKenzie's coaching had become a regular part of the Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald. In February Greg Growden outlined McKenzie's plan to "select a faster, more mobile forward pack" for the Super Rugby season opener against the Waratahs in Sydney.[8]

McKenzie, in his own column in the Sydney Morning Herald, shared his coaching insights. In April, first he discussed the challenges incorporating a new player into an unfamiliar playing environment.[9] A week later he explained, "The decision [by Queensland Rugby] to recruit Richard Graham [from the Western Force] was a proactive one made ... to ensure we can sustain ongoing success both with the Reds and in the community game."[10] Later he reported being asked about the strengths of the Australian conference relative to the South African and New Zealand conferences. In response he said: "I have found this year's competition to be one of the tightest in memory and this is more of a reflection on the strength of play from all teams as opposed to any perceived weaknesses."[11] In May, he reflected on the coaches' challenges of negotiating player contracts.[12]

On 19 March 2013, McKenzie announced he was to stand down as Queensland Reds head coach at the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season to further his hopes at coaching at international level.[13] Following the announcement, he was linked to the then vacant Ireland job,[14] as well as the vacant Scotland job[15] However, despite the links and meetings with other unions, it was the Wallabies job he wanted, which he landed on 8 July 2013.

Although he wasn't set to take over the Wallabies job until the 4 August, his reign at Queensland Reds ended on 20 July following a 38–9 defeat to the Crusaders in the Qualifiers of the 2013 season,[16] allowing him to turn his attention to Australia 2 weeks earlier than expected.

Head coach of Australia

On the 8th July 2013, following the resignation of Robbie Deans, after a test series defeat to the British and Irish Lions, McKenzie was expected to be selected as Wallabies coach.[17]

On the 9th July 2013, McKenzie was named Wallabies coach to replace Robbie Deans [18]

Wallabies coaching record

By Country
Opponent Played Won Lost Drew Win ratio (%)
 Argentina 2 2 0 0 100
 England 1 0 1 0 0
 New Zealand 3 0 3 0 0
 South Africa 2 0 2 0 0
TOTAL 8 2 6 0 25

Coaching Appointments

  • Head Coach – Wallabies 2013–
  • Director of Coaching – Queensland Reds 2013
  • Head Coach – Queensland Reds 2010–12
  • Head Coach – Stade Francais 2009
  • Head Coach – Australia A 2005
  • Head Coach – Waratahs 2003–2008
  • Assistant Coach/Coaching Coordinator – Wallabies 2000–03
  • Coaching Coordinator – ACT Brumbies 1998–2000

Coaching Achievements

  • Super Rugby Australian Conference Winners – 2011–12 (Queensland Reds)
  • Super Rugby Championship – 2011 (Queensland Reds)
  • France Top 14 semi-finalists – 2009 (Stade Francais)
  • Super Rugby Semi-finalists – 2006 (Waratahs)
  • Super Rugby Finalists – 2005 and 2008 (Waratahs)
  • Rugby World Cup Finalist – 2003 (Wallabies)
  • British and Irish Lions Winners – 2001 (Wallabies)
  • Tri Nations Winners – 2000 and 2001 (Wallabies)
  • Bledisloe Cup Winners – 2000 and 2001 (Wallabies)
  • Super Rugby Finalists – 2000 (Brumbies)


External links

  • ESPN Profile
Preceded by
Robbie Deans
Australian national rugby union coach
Succeeded by

Template:Australia Squad 1991 World Cup Template:Australia Squad 1995 World Cup

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