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Wallabies on right track - McKenzie

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Sportal.co.nz     10 Dec 2013     Getty Images

A largely disappointing 2013 season ended on a bright note for the Wallabies, winning four of their five matches on the Spring Tour including four straight against France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Reflecting on the end of the season for the national side, McKenzie believes he got what he wanted out of the tour and is confident it has set the perfect platform to improve next season.

The Wallabies are desperate to win back the Bledisloe Cup – which they have not held since 2002 – as well as improve their results in the Rugby Championship.

They begin their international campaign with three home Tests against France in June before the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe games and then onto another tour of Europe to end the year.

"The goal next year has to be to do better than we did this year," McKenzie told Sportal on Monday.

"We had a great end but it wasn't our greatest year.

"There are teams we have to play which are obviously benchmark sides and we have to make sure we go out there and mix it with them. That's our challenge.

"To finish strong with four wins it gives us a good platform to go into 2014. It gives us some confidence and some positive things to talk about."

McKenzie is looking forward to a break over the next month before getting down to planning how to attack next year's international program.

With several players impressing on the Spring Tour as well as a host of senior guys to return this season from injury, McKenzie is excited by the increased pool of talent at his disposal.

It also means he will be watching performances in Super Rugby more than ever to ensure he gets the right mix to continue their winning run and challenge the all-conquering All Blacks.

"The Super Rugby competition is important for me and I obviously want them all to do as well as they can," McKenzie said.

"They've all got their own programs, their own way of going about it and I just want to make sure they maximise the opportunities they've got with the playing group.

"I won't be telling anybody how to do things but I'll want to talk to them so I can get an understanding when I sit down to watch I'll know what the players are trying to achieve.

"It's a big year coming up and I need to assess the players on how they contribute to their teams."

Asked about his first half year in the top job, McKenzie said: "I've been in this environment as player and assistant before so I'm familiar with it but every game has got its challenges and we had a lot of games this year.

"I think the players handled it really well. Everything that goes on is things that you have dealt with before at some point in time.

"Nothing is insurmountable and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of next year and I think we've got a good base to go forward."