All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens has backed fellow New Zealander Dave Rennie as the best man for the Wallabies head coaching job after it was announced Rennie would lead the Wallabies to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Rennie was revealed as the new coach on Wednesday following Michael Cheika's exit from the post after the Wallabies were dumped from the World Cup in the quarterfinals with critics quick to predict more doom and gloom after the announcement, but speaking to ESPN at the announcement of a new independent rugby academy in Sydney, Mehrtens believes the Australian public need to get behind Rennie and see what he can do for rugby in Australia.
"I think if they [Australian public] give him a chance and look hard at what he's going to do they'll know that he'll work tirelessly for Australian rugby and for the Wallabies, and I think he'll do his absolute upmost," the former All Blacks fly-half said.
"He's a very meticulous guy, he's well versed in bringing disparate groups together and players together and molding them into a team, which is the most important thing. He did it with the Chiefs, he's coached a lot alongside Wayne Smith who's my personal favourite coach in history, he's obviously a fantastic coach, very experienced and I think you'll see a guy rolling up his sleeves and getting on with it, he won't be willing to make too much of a noise."
Set to begin with the Wallabies mid-2020 after the end of his contract with Glasgow Warriors, Rennie has said he expects instant results and will take "no excuses" for poor performances despite a post-World Cup exodus that has seen Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold and Sekope Kepu leave the country.
Vocal Rugby Australia critic Alan Jones questioned why Rennie was signed to such a lengthy contract despite no international head coaching experience, however Mehrtens believes with the four-year cycle of international rugby, RA had no choice but to sign him to the next World Cup.
"It's hard to get the quality coaches without doing that [long contracts], the rugby world revolves around that World Cup cycle of four years now, so realistically if you want to get the best that's what you have to do.
"He'll need some time to impose his own sort of culture, I'm sure there's a lot of good stuff he'll look at the Michael Cheika has brought to Wallabies rugby and I'm sure he'll want to build on that, he's not going to throw the baby out with the bath water sort of thing. But it does take some time for a new coach and a new regime to implement what they want to do."
Alongside a who's who of former Wallabies greats, Mehrtens was on hand to launch the International Rugby Academy of Australia (IRAA), a spinoff of the highly successful program launched in New Zealand 20 years ago -- a program that Rennie himself graduated -- by former All Blacks captain Murray Mexted.
The first courses will begin in January with elite young players and coaches coming to Sydney where they will get one-on-one access to the likes of John Eales, Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan, Matt Burke, Phil Kearns and several other former World Cup winning Wallabies with the aim of reviving Australian rugby.
"For whatever reasons there's kind of a fractious environment obviously in Australian rugby at the moment with a lot of different vested interests that don't always see eye-to-eye and who don't always get on the same page about the sport, so to have a vehicle that might be able to bring those people together a bit more is really exciting," Mehrtens told ESPN.
"When you can look out in to a room and you can get all the different stake holders in the game at various levels in Australia looking at something that's not threatening for any of them and it's an opportunity for them all to get on board and be part of the growth of the game I think is really good. Hopefully it's going to be helpful as some sort of unifying force in Australian rugby as well."