McKellar to 'double-dip' as Wallabies call
Dan McKellar has the Brumbies humming just over two years into his Super Rugby head coaching career but he admits when the Wallabies call, you answer.
McKellar has been sounded out by new Australian coach Dave Rennie to join his staff as an assistant leading into the 2023 World Cup.
The 43-year-old McKellar had a tough induction at the Brumbies, losing eight of the first 11 games he coached. He’s since won 17 of 27.
In McKellar’s second season, the Brumbies won the 2019 Australian conference and made the semi-finals. After five rounds this season they sit top of their group.
Rugby Australia has pitched McKellar the possibility of serving an apprenticeship under Rennie and then replacing the New Zealander as Wallabies coach after the World Cup.
The Brumbies boss has never made any secret of his ambitions to coach at international level but also wants to finish the job he started in Canberra.
The most likely scenario if McKellar joins the Wallabies is he’ll coach in tandem with the Brumbies until his provincial contract expires at the end of next season.
“The Wallabies need an assistant coach and they raised it a few weeks back and it would be an honour to be involved in the Australian setup,” McKellar told AAP.
“Coaches are no different to players in they want to coach at the highest level and I have aspirations to do that and I’m sure it would be a great environment to work in.
“I’m really flattered to be involved in those conversations but right now I’m focused on the Brumbies.”
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McKellar knows any discussions around succession plans are just that as he watched former colleague Stephen Larkham head down a similar road and it ended in tears.
Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika declared his assistant and then-Brumbies coach Larkham his successor before sacking him at the end of 2018.
Larkham was widely seen as Cheika’s scapegoat after one of Australia’s worst Test seasons in history.
“That [coaching Brumbies and Wallabies] is something that’s been done in the past but discussions haven’t progressed to that point,” McKellar said.
“In professional sport and coaching, things can change really quickly so you wouldn’t be getting too excited about conversations around succession planning and that sort of thing.”