Wednesday 18 October 2017

I haven't spoken to IRFU about coaching Ireland, insists McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie has denied the IRFU have contacted him about replacing Declan Kidney as Ireland coach
Ewen McKenzie has denied the IRFU have contacted him about replacing Declan Kidney as Ireland coach
Declan Kidney says he will 'reflect' on Ireland's campaign in the coming days and weeks
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

QUEENSLAND REDS coach Ewen McKenzie has denied the IRFU have contacted him about replacing Declan Kidney as Ireland coach.

The Australian was last night the 3/1 bookies favourite to get the job after reports in a number of Australian publications quoted a "high ranking Irish official" saying he would be the next national team coach.

Former Wallaby World Cup winner McKenzie has announced his intention to quit the franchise he led to the 2011 Super Rugby title at the end of this season, stating his intention to move into international rugby.

The IRFU last night also denied they had made contact with the former Stade Francais coach.

The union are currently in the middle of a review process with Kidney after his team finished with just one win in a desperately disappointing Six Nations campaign.

The coach is under severe pressure and is not expected to survive. Like the IRFU, McKenzie attempted to pour cold water on the speculation yesterday.

"I haven't spoken to anyone from Ireland and no one has spoken to me,'' McKenzie told local media.

"People love a conspiracy – that's what you blokes (the media) do. But it's really not that sinister. It's just about making a decision to allow the Reds to move forward.

"You can only put an application in when the job is advertised. If someone knows something about when the job is being advertised, let me know. In the meantime I will get on with coaching the Reds and, in the meantime, if something else pops up that looks interesting, I will have a look at that.

"You can't sit there by the phone waiting for one job. Rugby life doesn't work like that."

Former Leinster coach Michael Cheika played with McKenzie at Randwick and believes that his fellow countryman would be of real interest to the IRFU.

Cheika suggested that McKenzie would do a fine job as Ireland coach, but urged the Australians to do everything in their power to keep the 48-year-old former prop.

McKenzie, who won 51 caps for Australia, is also among the favourites to replace Aussie head coach Robbie Deans when his contract expires after this year's November internationals and may be using the impending Irish vacancy to strengthen his hand.

McKenzie worked with joint-second favourite and current Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss when he was at the Waratahs.

Kiss and former South Africa coach Jake White are currently 4/1 to land the job if Kidney and the IRFU part company.

Irish Independent

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