Sydney - Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has committed to stay in charge
of the Super Rugby defending premiers for a further season, taking him
through until the end of 2014.
The contract extension complicates his speculated
succession into the Wallabies head coaching position, which Robbie
Deans is expected to vacate in 2013.
However, Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael says
the Reds would be prepared to be flexible and discuss such a plan with
the Australian Rugby Union, should McKenzie be sounded out for the
national job at that time.
McKenzie has been touted as a future Wallabies mentor for
some time, and his claims have been boosted significantly by the
achievement of taking the Reds from cellar dwellers to Super Rugby
premiers within two years.
Carmichael said McKenzie's decision to stay at the Reds
through to the end of 2014 was significant, and praised the coach for
bringing much more to the organisation than just wins on the field.
"It's vitally important for our strategies to be
achieved to have a head coach who understands what we're trying to
build for this industry and we're very fortunate to have that in Ewen,"
"I haven't been in rugby very long, but I'm of the firm
belief that if we were to have another coach at this stage of our
plans, we wouldn't be able to achieve the same levels of penetration
that we've experienced over the last two years.
"Nor would I have the same confidence that we can deliver on our next three-year strategic plan."
McKenzie said his decision to stay on at Queensland Rugby was simple.
"We've done a good job the last couple of years, but
there's still a lot of work to be done and a number of challenges ahead
in the current landscape," McKenzie said.
"As you've seen, we're already working around the 2014
window with the recent re-signing of Digby Ioane, Jake Schatz and Adam
"We're currently doing a lot of planning in and around
this space and it was an easy decision to give my commitment, along with
Jim and Rod, to seeing the job through.
"We have a good idea of what lies ahead and what needs
to be achieved in Queensland in terms of the future success of our Code
and I have given my commitment to being part of it."