21 Jan 2012

Reds coach puts Wallabies ambitions on backburner

6:36 am on 21 January 2012

The Super Rugby-winning coach Ewen McKenzie has put a desire to build a Queensland Reds dynasty before his Wallabies ambitions by re-signing with the franchise until the end of 2014.

McKenzie, who has transformed the Reds from cellar-dwellers to champions in just two years in charge, has agreed to extend his contract by an extra 12 months.

The surprise extension has serious ramifications on a national level with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' contract expiring at the end of 2013.

McKenzie looms as a natural successor, especially after Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill admitted in October he featured extensively in the governing body's succession plan.

But the Queensland Rugby Union believes New Zealander Deans will again be reappointed after the British and Irish Lions tour in two years time "unless the wheels fell off".

McKenzie says the motivation behind his decision was to finish the job he'd been recruited for - leaving a legacy for what had been a fractured code in Queensland's highly-competitive sporting market.

With half the Reds squad coming off contract this year, including star halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper, the new deal for the popular mentor is certain to help retention efforts in the face of extra salary cap pressure.