Premiership: Dan McKellar to take take over Leicester Tigers coaching reins

Dan McKellar Brumbies coach SRP 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Dan McKellar Brumbies coach SRP 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Dan McKellar has stepped down from his position as the Wallabies’ forwards coach to take up a role as the head coach of Leicester Tigers, on a long-term contract, commencing from July 1.

The 46-year-old has been in his Wallabies role since 2021 and was also the head coach of the Brumbies from 2018 to 2022.

During his stint in charge of the Canberra-based outfit, McKellar guided them to the the inaugural Super Rugby AU title in 2020 and they were runners’ up in 2021, as well as semi-finalists in 2019 and 2022.

Before taking over the Brumbies‘ coaching reins, he served as the club’s assistant coach from 2014 to 2017.

Plenty of coaching experience

He also worked as a forwards coach at Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes (2013), head coach of the University of Canberra Vikings (2014) in the Australian National Rugby Championship, head coach of the Tuggeranong Vikings in Canberra (2011 to 12) and head coach of Souths Rugby Club in Brisbane (2008 to 2010).

Prior to his coaching career, McKellar played as a loosehead prop in more than 150 games for Souths Rugby Club and he was part of the Queensland Reds squad from 2005 to 2006. He also spent time Ireland and Scotland during the latter stages of his playing career.

Speaking about the decision to join Leicester Tigers, McKellar said: “This has been a big decision for me and my family, to make the move to the other side of the world together, but it is one that we are very much looking forward to doing, to be a part of a club like Leicester Tigers.

“There are strong links with the community, with the supporters and knowing that I will be a part of game days at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with 25,000 people in the stands lights a fire for me.

“What else stood out for me was that the club takes great pride in having a very strong academy programme, where we can develop our own players both culturally and from a rugby perspective.

“In the experiences I have had in the northern hemisphere, as part of tours with Australia, I have seen the passion for the game and the genuine love for the game that there is and that is what I want to be involved in.”

Discussing the club, McKellar added: “The Tigers DNA is built around a combative style of rugby, with a strong set piece and defence, and that is something that I felt aligned strongly with myself.”

“As well as that, we will be a side that attack in the right areas of the field and challenge teams in the right areas of the field.

“I see a squad of players at Leicester Tigers that I believe can evolve, can grow and have areas that I can add value to and help develop individuals to improve the team as a whole.

“It is important to me that the Leicester Tigers side I lead is one that represents what the club is about and what it stands for.”

Leicester Tigers chief executive Andrea Pinchen is excited that McKellar is joining their ranks.

“We are delighted to be able to confirm Dan McKellar’s appointment to the Head Coach role at Leicester Tigers from next season,” she said.

Rigorous process

“This has been a rigorous process, over a period of almost six months, and always been about ensuring that we found the very best coach to lead this club into the future and Dan McKellar is that coach.

“He has displayed the characteristics of someone who understands what Leicester Tigers is about and is highly committed to seeing the club be successful and, more importantly, consistently successful.

“In all of the stages of this process, from early on in using data analytics to identify a list of 40 potential candidates, right up until meeting him and his family, we have been hugely impressed by the way in which Dan fits what Leicester Tigers is about.

“His style of coaching, his interactions and passion for wanting to improve players, his interest in developing Tigers-made players and our connection with our community has shown he understands the uniqueness of this club.

“Dan is committed to long-term success at Leicester Tigers and we are looking forward to welcoming him and his family in the summer, before getting to work together.”

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