McKenzie : Wallabies are on the right track now

Australian rugby head coach Ewen McKenzie says that the Wallabies end of year turnaround proves that they are now on the right track.

Australia lost their Test match to England at Twickenham but recovered from that by ending up winning four out of fives Tests on tour.

Victories over France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales made up for the Wallabies loss to England and McKenzie says he got what he wanted out of the tour.

The Wallabies coach had a difficult first season as he was thrown into the Rugby Championship which only produced two victories over Argentina for Australia.

McKenzie however says that he is confident that the Wallabies end of year winning run has set the perfect platform to improve in the 2014 season.

The Wallabies start their international campaign in 2014 with three home Tests against France and then they move into the Rugby Championship and end with another tour of Europe.

The Wallabies are desperate to win back the Bledisloe Cup which they surrendered to the All Blacks in 2002 so that will be a major focus in the Rugby Championship for 2014.

“The goal next year has to be to do better than we did this year,” McKenzie told Sportal.

“We had a great end but it wasn’t our greatest year. “

“There are teams we have to play which are obviously benchmark sides and we have to make sure we go out there and mix it with them. That’s our challenge.

“To finish strong with four wins it gives us a good platform to go into 2014. It gives us some confidence and some positive things to talk about.”

McKenzie said that he was looking forward to having a break over the next month or so before he starts planning next year’s international programme.

The Wallabies coach added that he was excited by the Australian talent pool after a host of senior players return from injury in 2014 and several players impressing on the end of year tour.

McKenzie said that he will be watching Super Rug more than ever as he needs to ensure that he gets the mix right for the challenge of facing the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship.

“The Super Rugby competition is important for me and I obviously want them all to do as well as they can,” McKenzie said.

“They’ve all got their own programs, their own way of going about it and I just want to make sure they maximise the opportunities they’ve got with the playing group.

“I won’t be telling anybody how to do things but I’ll want to talk to them so I can get an understanding when I sit down to watch I’ll know what the players are trying to achieve.

“It’s a big year coming up and I need to assess the players on how they contribute to their teams.”

When asked about his first half year as head coach McKenzie said: “I’ve been in this environment as player and assistant before so I’m familiar with it but every game has got its challenges and we had a lot of games this year.

“I think the players handled it really well. Everything that goes on is things that you have dealt with before at some point in time.

“Nothing is insurmountable and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next year and I think we’ve got a good base to go forward.”

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