Rugby - Reaction to McKenzie appointment

Australia named former Test prop Ewen McKenzie to replace New Zealander Robbie Deans, the national rugby team's first foreign mentor, as coach of the Wallabies on Tuesday.

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Ewen McKenzie

Here is a sample of the reaction from former and current players.

Former All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall

"Under Deans, Australia has more often than not been the No. 2 rugby nation in the world, won the Tri-Nations as recently as 2011 and reached the last World Cup semis.

"This has been despite encountering a string of serious player injury setbacks in a country with limited depth and also while having to take on several very powerful players who often seemed to be working against him.

"If Robbie Deans is guilty of anything during his time in Australian rugby, it's of being a New Zealander and being prepared to make a stand."

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones

"He has no communications skills at all Robbie, none. It's just been a very sad chapter."

South African Jake White, who was also a candidate to replace Deans, on Australia opting for a homegrown coach

"It's not a perception. It's a fact.

"You fired the cricket coach (South African Mickey Arthur), put an Aussie in (Darren Lehmann), fired the rugby coach and put an Aussie in.

"They've tried foreigners and I appreciate that. That doesn't mean that I have to agree or disagree with it. That's the nature of the game we're in."

Wallabies winger Israel Folau

"I've really enjoyed being coached by Robbie over the last five weeks. He's a great man. I wish him all the best."

Wallabies prop Benn Robinson

"The way Robbie held himself as a person is a definite credit to him. There's been pressure on Robbie for the last two or three years."

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland

"I've got a huge amount of respect for what Robbie's achieved in rugby. It's tough to have a Kiwi involved coaching an Australian side."

Wallabies back-rower Dave Dennis

"It's been five years, Robbie's the longest-serving Wallabies coach for Australia after 74 Tests, so maybe it was getting a bit stale there and it's a bit of a fresh change.

"All the boys respect Robbie and what he's done and his effort, but there's probably a sense that it needed a bit of a change ... I would (prefer an Australian coach) to be honest.

"It's not everything but definitely at that level when you're playing against foreign countries it plays a part I think."

Former All Black Brad Thorn

"It's a ruthless game and Deansy knows that. Robbie's been involved for many years as a player and as a coach. He'll be disappointed but these things are part of life and you have to move on.

"Kiwis and Aussies are pretty similar in that they both like winning."

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