Under-fire Australia coach McKenzie quits

Australian rugby was plunged further into crisis yesterday, a year before the World Cup, when under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie resigned a few hours before the Wallabies were beaten 29-28 by New Zealand in Brisbane.

McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans in July last year, had come under pressure for his role in the row over offensive text messages Kurtley Beale allegedly sent to a team official in June.

Beale faces a Code of Conduct hearing into the affair next week, but it has already caused two weeks of turmoil which have made Australian rugby a laughing stock around the world.

McKenzie informed the Australian Rugby Union of his decision yesterday morning and announced his resignation after the last-gasp defeat by the world champions at Lang Park.

"My intention was win, lose or draw tonight, to announce my resignation tonight. I've just told the team," he told a news conference in Brisbane.

"It's been a disappointing time I think for many reasons, I won't even go into the detail, you guys can work it out." - Reuters.