CONFIRMED: SA coach gets Rebels top job
NEWS: South African Kevin Foote will take charge of the Melbourne Rebels on a permanent basis, while the Super Rugby franchise has also lured former Reds mentor Nick Stiles back from Japan in a new position.
Stiles, a former Wallabies and Queensland prop, was announced as the franchise’s new general manager of rugby on Wednesday when interim coach Foote was appointed full-time.
Defence coach Foote assumed the top job for the Rebels in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition after Dave Wessels stepped down at the end of the Super Rugby AU season following the team’s failure to make the finals.
Foote impressed the Rebels board during a testing time with the team again forced out of Melbourne. Despite five losses progress was still noted.
“We’re developing a special culture within the club with the staff, the coaches and the playing group, and I’m excited to take that to the next level next season,” Foote said.
Attack coach Ryan Martin will serve as Foote’s deputy for the next two years, joining the Rebels from the Free Jacks in North America’s Major League Rugby (MLR).
Born in Melbourne where he still has family, Stiles, who coached the Reds in 2016-17, will look to build “on-field, commercial and community success”.
Melbourne Rebels also announced the re-signings of several key players, including Wallabies squad members Andrew Kellaway and Rob Leota, who have both re-committed for another two years.
But they have lost Wallabies stars Marika Koroibete and Isi Naisarani, who will ply their trade overseas while skipper Dane Haylett-Petty has departed after battling concussion symptoms for the past six months.