Links seen to Wallabies, Ireland as Reds coach Ewen McKenzie quits
Queensland Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie said yesterday he would quit at the end of the Super Rugby season, with reports linking him to the Wallabies or Six Nations side Ireland.
McKenzie, who joined the Reds in 2009, guided the franchise to their first championship in 2011 in addition to back-to-back Australian conference titles and he is widely seen as one of the best coaches in the world.
He has long been touted as a potential successor to Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who is contracted till the end of the year.
But ACT Brumbies coach Jake White is also seen as a contender and reports said that if the Wallabies job eludes McKenzie he will almost certainly be offered a head coaching position with a Six Nations side.
"Indeed, the worry for Australia is that another country, with Ireland the leading contender, will snap him up as head coach before the Wallabies position is even put up for grabs," The Australian newspaper's rugby writer Wayne Smith said.
McKenzie denied he had been approached by Ireland as a possible replacement for Declan Kidney after they finished second last in the Six Nations.
"You guys love conspiracy theories," he said of the speculation, but admitted he was ready to coach a national side.
He was in line for the Wallabies job in 2005 after Eddie Jones was dumped but did not consider himself ready. "It is seven years later … I am ready for the next level," he said.