McKenzie firms as Melbourne’s Super 15 coach

Former Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie has firmed as a prime candidate to coach Victoria’s proposed Super 15 team after he was sacked by Stade Francais.

Melbourne Victoria are understood to be in the lead to be named as the 15th franchise when Super Rugby expands to a Super 15 in 2011.

The former Melbourne schoolboy was sacked yesterday just five rounds into the Top14. Last season he took them to the semi-finals.

Club owner Max Guazzini said the former Waratahs coach’s message had stopped getting through to his players, a claim flatly denied by McKenzie.

McKenzie added that he and the flamboyant Guazzini were philosophically opposed and he paid the price for perceptions his team wouldn’t draw big crowds to Stade de France.

“We’re at the wrong end of the table but that said two wins and you’re in first place,” McKenzie told Sky Sports Radio.

“We’re not exactly in dire straits but the way the team is organised a lot is around bums on seats for the big games and the owner wanted to do something different.

“This is not an unusual in French sport.

“Often if you’re not getting what you want the public execution of the coach is part of the emotional solutions the French subscribe to.”

McKenzie, educated at Melbourne’s Scotch College is understood to be on the short-list of potential coaches for the two Victorian syndicates bidding for the new Super 15 license according to AAP.

The former international hooker said that he had given little thought to his next move but said his situation should serve as a warning with Australian rugby’s moves towards private ownership.

“To me it’s been a lesson. There’s talk of moving to private equity teams in rugby and this has been one of the interesting by-products of private equity,” McKenzie told AAP.

“You are at the whim of a person … which can have a major impact.

“It’s not actually about the coaching. You can’t sack the players so you sack the coach and that sends the message, that’s my interpretation of it.”


SANZAR will announce who will be awarded the Super 15 franchise before the end of October.

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