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McKenzie the right man for Wallabies top job - Poidevin

Vote of confidence ... Ewen Mckenzie "stands head and shoulders above anyone else as the best candidate to succeed Robbie Deans", according to Simon Poidevin.

Vote of confidence ... Ewen Mckenzie "stands head and shoulders above anyone else as the best candidate to succeed Robbie Deans", according to Simon Poidevin. Photo: Getty Images

EWEN McKENZIE stands head and shoulders above anyone else as the best candidate to succeed Robbie Deans should there be a change of Wallabies coach after the British and Irish Lions tour this year, says former Australian captain Simon Poidevin.

Speaking with Fairfax Media in a wide-ranging interview on rugby in 2013, Poidevin also poured water on suggestions new Waratahs coach Michael Cheika could challenge McKenzie for the Australian post should NSW have a successful first season under him.

Poidevin also warned Queensland and Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper that if his issues with Deans and the ARU continued to distract the Wallabies, then it should be him who farewells Australian rugby, not the coach.

''Put it this way, if it is not resolved then Quade will be doing something else,'' Poidevin said of the Cooper saga. ''At the end of the day, it's the coach who runs the teams … Any player who thinks he runs the team - and a national team - is dreaming.''

Poidevin also said Cheika would not let anything distract him from his job at the Waratahs.

''Michael Cheika is totally focused on building generational change at the Waratahs,'' Poidevin said. ''He has no interest in aspiring to any Wallaby job. He is smart. He is fair and knows he has got an aim to achieve over the next three years, and he will do that.

''He won't be distracted by any sort of desire to move into a Wallaby role. If Robbie Deans did drop off the perch then Ewen McKenzie is the absolute lay-down misere for that job.''

Poidevin also believes many Waratahs are in for a shock. ''Michael sets very high standards for himself, his staff and his players. People are finding that very quickly. Cultural change will provide significant results for the Waratahs. Look at the Wallabies spring tour … the Test team was dominated by Waratahs players. Then look at last season in Super Rugby and you wonder how the hell that team did not do better.

''I'll be upfront … it was an appalling coaching performance by Michael Foley [who has left]. The coach of any sport is the one who is finally accountable and sets the agenda. Those players now realise under Michael Cheika the standards required. If they think those past standards are acceptable now, they won't be around for long.''

However, Poidevin is confident that with Cheika and McKenzie pushing their Super Rugby sides to play an expansive running game, Australian rugby will benefit from top to bottom.

While he believes it will affect how grassroots sides play, he also predicts that with the two biggest provinces playing the same style of game, Deans will be pressured into reviewing the Wallabies' style.

''The push through into club and juniors by success of the Waratahs can't be underestimated,'' Poidevin said. ''It is hugely important to rugby that the Waratahs go well and become a sporting entity that young kids want to play for.

''A very expansive game by the Waratahs will also push into club rugby because the players will aspire to getting into the Waratahs. And that will be the style of game they will need to play.

''Furthermore, the expansive way Queensland and NSW play will also put a lot of pressure on Robbie Deans. I am a huge supporter of Robbie, but it is time for Australia to step up a huge cog on how we play the game.''

Twitter - @rupertguinness

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
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