Rugby: New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie ready for Aussie backlash

New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is braced for a potentially hostile reception from Aussie fans, who had probably hoped for one of their own to guide the national rugby team.

The former Chiefs maestro has been named as Australian coach for the next four years, taking them through the 2023 World Cup in France.

Rennie, 55, becomes the second Kiwi to take control of the Wallabies, after Cantabrian Robbie Deans held the head-coaching role from 2008-13.

Deans - who became known as 'Dingo Deans' - took the Aussies to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, where they lost to New Zealand, and eventually fell out of favour, after compiling a record of 43 wins, 29 losses and two draws.

In six years, he managed only three wins in 18 encounters against the All Blacks and was often criticised for his conservative gameplan.

Rennie is fully aware he faces a 'hard sell' in his new job.

"I get it," he says. "I think the Australians want their national team coached by an Australian and I'm OK with that.

"Hopefully, they're feeling that way because they care about Aussie rugby. All I can say is everywhere I've gone, I've immersed myself in the community and the culture.

"I guess we'll be judged by what we do, as opposed to what I say now, but I can assure you I care about the future of Australian rugby, and will work really hard to get a strong connection with the Super Rugby coaches and national age-grade coaches to ensure we've got good young talent coming through and creating a pathway for them."

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle insists her selection panel considered several homegrown candidates for the Wallabies position.

"We looked really hard at the Australian options and there wasn't one, at this level, that we believed was available to come into this role.

"That's something we've identified as an area that we need to spend more time focused on, to grow and develop our young coaches coming through.

"Given we didn't have an Australian candidate, ultimately we had to find the best candidate that we could."

Castle admitted Rugby Australia had approached former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who steered England to this month's World Cup final, but found he was already contracted to continue his current role.  

But director of rugby Scott Johnson insists Rennie would have plenty of Australian assistants around him.

"We'd like to get an Australian flavour there," he says. "It's important that we get that.

"We have an obligation to get some young coaches through our system, but we've got a lot of good coaches coming through.

"They're just not at the point that we need them at the pointy end now, but the next cycle, we need to have genuine contenders for this position coming throughour system."

Rennie will complete the current Pro14 season at the helm of Glasgow Warriors, before taking up his Australian post for next July's international window.

But the former NZ U20 coach conceded an approach to apply for the vacant All Blacks job came too late to lure him away from the Australian appointment process.

"I'm a proud Kiwi, but I had been talking to Australia for a lot of months and the All Black interest came late in the piece.

"By that stage, we had done a lot of homework and were really excited by the opportunity to go to Australia, so it ended up being an easy decision."

As it did with Japan coach - and another All Blacks candidate - Jamie Joseph only two days earlier, NZ Rugby has congratulated Rennie.

"We have known for some time that Dave was in talks with Rugby Australia, so we have been clear about his position regarding the All Blacks head coach position," says chair Brett Impey.

"We congratulate Dave on his appointment and wish him the best. We certainly look forward to hosting him as the head coach of the visiting team during the Rugby Championship."

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