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SA’s White too conservative for Wallabies

  • 11 Jul 2013

Ewen McKenzie's attacking style and his nationality gave him the edge over Jake White as head coach of the Wallabies, Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver admitted.

McKenzie was this week announced as Robbie Deans' successor, and Pulver explained that White's perceived defensive style was at the heart of him missing out. 

Pulver said McKenzie had impressed the selection panel with his vision to 'coach the Australian way', a reference to playing attractive and attacking football. This despite White's Brumbies scoring 11 more tries than McKenzie's Reds to date in Super Rugby, and outscoring them last season. 

'Both were world-class options, Jake's case was very compelling … he has an outstanding coaching record,' Pulver said. 'I just think there has probably been a little bit more creativity in Ewen's programmes. He's very vocal in saying "winning is not enough". You've got to win in a way that excites and captures the hearts and minds of the rugby community. I agree [with McKenzie]. At this point in time I'd say Ewen [compared with White] has the strongest point in that particular area … One of the things Ewen came out strongly on was the ability to coach the Australian way.'

Pulver denied the ARU had been set on appointing only an Australian after Deans – a New Zealander and the Wallabies' first foreign coach – proved to be a failure when measured against expectations. He did, however, add: 'But when you've got two coaches of such a similar standard, there is clearly some advantage in being Australian.'

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