Planet Rugby

Ewen a 'shoo-in' - White

16th April 2013 14:08

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Coach Jake White gives instructions during a Brumbies Super Rugby training session

White: Rates McKenzie as next in line for the Wallabies post

Brumbies boss Jake White feels coaching counterpart Ewen McKenzie is a clear favourite to become Australia's next head coach.

Current Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is contracted until the end of the year but that may change if Australia lose the three-Test series to the British & Irish Lions in June-July, having been in the role for almost five years.

McKenzie was in line for the Wallabies job in 2005 after Eddie Jones was dumped, but he did not consider himself ready for Test duty. However, his record with the Reds since then has increased the pressure on Deans' position.

In his first 24 games at the Reds, McKenzie - set to leave his post as Queensland's director of coaching at the end of the current Super Rugby season - boasted a record of 17 wins and seven losses. It now sits at 40-15.

The Reds just missed out on the Super Rugby semi-finals in 2010, before winning the 2011 tournament and last year they denied the Brumbies top spot in the Australian conference.

"If you look at it like that, you'd like to think that Ewen must then be the shoo-in for that job because that's the way it is," said White, who's record with the Brumbies is 16 wins, seven losses and a draw after 24 games in charge.

"They are laden with Wallabies, they have got a winning culture - he has done phenomenally well with that Reds team.

"The Reds, when he took over, were nowhere. He's (taken) them to where they are now and that plays a massive bonus for them. You've got to give him accolades for that."

On Saturday, the two coaches will square off at Suncorp Stadium where the Reds will be looking for revenge after going down to the Brumbies in Round One at Canberra Stadium.

But McKenzie acknowledged the Brumbies remain a complicated team to plan against.

"We're better than we were when we played them in the first round, there's no question about that," he said.

"No one wants to talk about it but they kick the ball a lot.

"They kick it down the other end and they want you to play.

"It's a solid game plan and it works but they don't play any rugby inside their own half."

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