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Wallaby selection to be based on attitude & form


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Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie says that the attitude of Australian players as much as form will help him to decide the make up of his team as he plans for the June Internationals and ultimately the Rugby World Cup next year.

McKenzie said the desire to wear the gold jersey and professionalism would be major factors in weighing up contenders ahead of June’s three-Test home series against France.

The coach said he was pleased with the competition for positions and form of Australia’s franchises in this season’s Super Rugby, but he added that consistency was key for players on and off the field.

McKenzie said he has been consulting with Super Rugby coaches to find out what sort of people various players were away from the game, and what motivates them.

“The attitudinal side — the right mindset and right behaviours — are a really important part of the make-up for me,” McKenzie told the Australian Associated Press.

“I’m actually looking for consistency, and the technical execution and behaviour and all those things are in the pot.”

McKenzie, a 1991 World Cup winner as a front-rower, made team culture a priority in his initial season as coach and showed his intent by suspending six players and reprimanding nine others for late-night boozing in Dublin.

Some off-contract Wallabies are currently eyeing deals overseas while wayward back James O’Connor — struggling to find a new Super Rugby home — is one who says he wants to come back from Europe next year to make himself eligible to play for Australia at the World Cup.

“I’m only interested in the ones that want to wear the jersey,” McKenzie said.

“It’s an interesting time but I’ll just concentrate on the players that are eligible.”

McKenzie indicated O’Connor could not expect to demand money from the Australian Rugby Union to return home and play.

“He knows he has to rebuild his situation so the first thing is he has to find a club that is interested in an arrangement,” he said.

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