Kiwi best fit for Aussies

Rugby great urges fans to back new coach

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - DARREN WAL­TON

NOT­ING that sport was like busi­ness, rugby great Michael Ly­nagh has im­plored Aus­tralia’s doubt­ing fans to get be­hind the Wal­la­bies new Kiwi coach, declar­ing Dave Ren­nie the best man for the job.

Crit­ics have been quick to pre­dict more doom and gloom af­ter the five-year reign of fel­low well-cre­den­tialed New Zealan­der Rob­bie Deans ended in 2013 with­out a sin­gle Bledis­loe Cup se­ries win.

Even Ren­nie’s pre­de­ces­sor Michael Cheika hoped Rugby Aus­tralia would punt on a home­grown coach to take charge.

But with RA chief Raelene Cas­tle claim­ing there were no suf­fi­ciently qual­i­fied Aus­tralian can­di­dates, Ren­nie this week signed on for the next four years. And 23 years into rugby’s pro­fes­sional era, Ly­nagh says pas­sion­ate and pa­tri­otic Aus­tralian sup­port­ers need to take a prag­matic ap­proach to Ren­nie’s ap­point­ment.

“Sport’s very emo­tional so of course we want an Aus­tralian coach­ing Aus­tralia. England want an English­man coach­ing England too and they’ve got an Aus­tralian coach,” Ly­nagh said.

“Dif­fer­ent sports have all got dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties coach­ing them. I take the emo­tion out of it and say: ‘OK, what would a busi­ness fel­low in New Zealand do? What would an en­gi­neer­ing com­pany do when look­ing for a new leader and they put an ad in the pa­per?’ They’d try and find the best per­son to in­ter­view for that job. If Dave Ren­nie’s gone through the process and is the best per­son for that job, then so be it.

“He hap­pens to be a New Zealan­der, but he’s done all this body of work and he’s ac­tu­ally quite an ex­pe­ri­enced guy.”

Hailed as Aus­tralian rugby’s saviour when ush­ered in af­ter the Wal­la­bies’ 2007 World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal flop, Deans wound up a tar­get for dis­il­lu­sioned fans when Aus­tralia were un­able to wres­tle back the Bledis­loe dur­ing his six at­tempts.

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