Rugby

Attitude, form key - McKenzie

2014-03-28 11:28
Ewen McKenzie (Gallo)

Sydney - Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said on Friday that the attitude of players as much as form will help him decide the makeup of his team as he plots a course towards next year's Rugby World Cup.

McKenzie said the desire to wear the gold jersey and professionalism would be major factors in weighing up contenders ahead of June's three-Test home series against France.

The coach said he was pleased with the competition for positions and form of Australia's franchises in this season's Super Rugby, but he added that consistency was key for players on and off the field.

McKenzie said he has been consulting with Super Rugby coaches to find out what sort of people various players were away from the game, and what motivates them.

"The attitudinal side - the right mindset and right behaviours - are a really important part of the make-up for me," McKenzie said.

"I'm actually looking for consistency, and the technical execution and behaviour and all those things are in the pot."

McKenzie, a 1991 World Cup winner as a front-rower, made team culture a priority in his initial season as coach and showed his intent by suspending six players and reprimanding nine others for late-night boozing in Dublin.

Some off-contract Wallabies are currently eyeing deals overseas while wayward back James O'Connor - struggling to find a new Super Rugby home - is one who says he wants to come back from Europe next year to make himself eligible to play for Australia at the World Cup.

"I'm only interested in the ones that want to wear the jersey," McKenzie said.

"It's an interesting time but I'll just concentrate on the players that are eligible."

McKenzie indicated O'Connor could not expect to demand money from the Australian Rugby Union to return home and play.

"He knows he has to rebuild his situation so the first thing is he has to find a club that is interested in an arrangement," he said.

O'Connor, who made his Australia debut at the age of 18 in 2008 and has made 44 appearances for his country, developed a reputation as a troublemaker following several brushes with the rugby authorities in recent years.

McKenzie and selectors will choose their squad in May to play France.

Read more on:    wallabies  |  ewen mckenzie  |  rugby
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