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Leicester Tigers reveal new coach amid Cheika rumour

TRANSFER NEWS: Leicester Tigers have appointed Dan McKellar to the role of Head Coach, on a long-term deal, commencing from July 1.

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It has been reported that Michael Cheika and Rassie Erasmus were shortlisted for the role of head coach.

However, the Premiership side managed to land the former Brumbies man.

McKellar will join Tigers from Rugby Australia where he has been the Wallabies Senior Assistant Coach since 2021 and was Head Coach of Super Rugby side the Brumbies from 2018 – 2022.

During his five-year tenure as Head Coach with the Brumbies, he guided the club to the inaugural Super Rugby AU competition in 2020 and were runners’ up in 2021, as well as semi-finalists in 2019 and 2022.

Prior to taking up the Head Coach role at the Brumbies, McKellar was Assistant Coach at the Brumbies from 2014-17.

His previous coaching roles were 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 (2011-12) and Head Coach of Souths Rugby Club in Brisbane (2008-10).

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Before moving into coaching, McKellar made more than 150 senior appearances as a loosehead prop for Souths Rugby Club and spent two seasons in the Queensland Reds squad from 2005-06, as well as stints in Ireland and Scotland in 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.

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“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.”

On the appointment and recruitment process of McKellar, Leicester Tigers Chief Executive Officer Andrea Pinchen said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm Dan McKellar’s appointment to the Head Coach role at Leicester Tigers from next season.”

“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.”

Looking ahead to the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign, Pinchen added: “While this is exciting news for the future of our club, the current campaign remains incredibly important to everyone at Leicester Tigers.”

“This is not a club that has transition years and under the guidance of Richard Wigglesworth, we remain steadfast in finishing this season successfully.

“Richard, Aled Walters and the coaching team have done an exceptional job in difficult circumstances during these past couple of months and – as they have throughout their entire time at Leicester Tigers – are giving everything to finishing the season strongly.

“I cannot compliment the coaching team, our playing group, staff and all of our supporters highly enough for the way in which everybody has adapted and continued to give everything for Leicester Tigers during a challenging year.

“We are excited for the future, yes, but what is most important is the now and continuing to give our supporters, partners and Leicester the very best from Tigers.”

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