UNSW alumni Ewen McKenzie becomes Randwick Rugby Life Member
UNSW Town Planning graduate and former Wallaby prop Ewen McKenzie was last month awarded Life Membership of the Randwick District Rugby Union Football Club, and is now back working as a town planner after a distinguished coaching career.
Published on the 07 January 2022 by David Gavin
McKenzie, 56, was publicly welcomed by fellow Life Member and UNSW Sport Hall of Fame Inductee Simon Poidevin AM.
“Ewen joined Randwick in 1985 from Victoria, where he played with Scotch College down there, playing three years in the first XV, three years for Victorian Schoolboys, he played with Harlequins and then made the trip to Sydney to join the club, in 1985, to study at UNSW,” Poidevin explained.
“He played 128 senior games for the club, (116) of those were in First Grade, scored 14 tries as well (and) won eight premierships with the club between 1986 and 1997.”
Six of those Shute Shield First Grade premierships came in succession between 1987 and 1992, winning the title again in 1994 and 1996, before retiring in 1997.
McKenzie represented the Australian Wallabies on 51 occasions and was a renowned tight head prop, winning the 1991 World Cup under UNSW Sport Hall of Famer, coach Bob Dwyer.
He also played 37 interstate games for NSW from 1987 to 1995 and 24 matches for the ACT Brumbies during the last two years of his playing career.
McKenzie then went on to serve as a Wallabies' assistant coach to Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones before becoming the head coach of the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds and finally two years as the Men’s Australian Rugby Union head coach (2013-2014).
He won the Super Rugby title with Queensland in 2011, and took the Waratahs to three Super Rugby Finals during his five-year tenure between 2004 and 2008.
“He is one of the all-time greats of Australian Rugby, certainly from the point of view of the front row world, one of the best front-rowers the world has ever seen,” Poidevin said.
“Has done extremely well in his career away from rugby and we’re very, very proud to announce Ewen McKenzie as a life member of the Randwick club.”
McKenzie was honoured to receive the accolade.
“I’m a little bit shocked to be honest … I’ve looked at the Life Member boards of the various club locations that Randwick has had over the years and seen some fantastic names, and some great luminaries that have represented the club on and off the field,” McKenzie said.
“And to be able to join that list is a great honour. Thank you."
"We all had to work … we were all doing something else, it gave you great perspective," McKenzie said speaking about his career away from rugby.
“I did the university degree in parallel … the assistant coaching role came up with the Brumbies and that took me off on a 20-year tangent of coaching, but I’m back doing town planning which I’m trained in. I work in (Waste Management and Enquiring) and I do a lot of development work with a lot of different councils.
“I enjoy that,” said McKenzie, who completed his Town Planning degree with honours in 1991.
Ewen McKenzie accepts appointment as the Men's Australian Rugby Union coach in 2013 // Getty Images.