Wallabies head coach Ewen McKenzie announced his resignation at the post-match press conference following Saturday’s 29-28 loss to New Zealand.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver paid tribute to McKenzie who has led Australia in 22 Tests since starting in the role in August 2013.
“At 10am this morning I got an email from Ewen with resignation attached. I tried to talk him out of this,” said Pulver.
“What’s happened to Ewen over the last 2 weeks is pretty disappointing.
“He felt he was going to struggle to retain the level of respect he needed from the playing group and staff.
“There’s a group of players here who I still believe is capable of winning the World Cup.
“In the ideal world, we will identify a coach who will take us to the World Cup and beyond.
“Australian Rugby has lost a pretty good man today. I was not expecting his decision today, so basically we are right back at the start.”
“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me this morning of his intention to resign, regardless of tonight’s result.”
“Ewen is a world-class coach and a world-class individual who has been committed to playing entertaining rugby for our fans since he started in the role.
“During his tenure, he has overseen a seven match winning streak, drew against the All Blacks and beat South Africa – all achievements that had not been met in the previous year.
“We sincerely wish Ewen well for the future professionally and personally.”
Pulver said the process to find a replacement has now begun.
“We hope to have the new Head Coach in place before the team leaves for the Spring Tour on Friday,” he added.
“Criteria for the role includes identifying a coach who can lead us to victory in next year’s Rugby World Cup; represents rugby’s core values; has the support of the playing group; and is available.
“As part of this process, we will also identify structural improvements to the off-field element of the Wallabies, with a senior leadership role to be created to support the team.
“We will work with the incoming coach on that structure, with a solution to be in place as soon as possible.”
- Planet Rugby