Melbourne Rebels

McGahan’s Rebel deal clears Wallaby way for McKenzie

McGahan’s Rebel deal clears Wallaby way for McKenzie

UPDATE: Ewen McKenzie will be unveiled as the new coach of the Wallabies as soon as tomorrow, with several news outlets reporting that Robbie Deans’ contract with the ARU has been terminated six months early.

It is being suggested that McKenzie’s contract will see him lead the national team until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Ewen will face a challenging task in his new role, turning round a Wallabies outfit demoralised by the Lions Tour defeat, and with several players out of form and, in the case of James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale, without a Super Rugby home for 2014.

GAGR will keep you up to date with developments as they occur.

EARLIER: The Melbourne Rebels have announced the appointment of Tony McGahan as head coach for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, in a move that may have wider implications for the future of the Wallabies.

The Wallabies coaching co-ordinator since 2012, Tony McGahan started his coaching career at Nudgee College, before a stint at Anglican Church Grammar saw him appointed as coaching co-ordinator of the Australian U19 side. McGahan also coached the Brisbane Easts first grade side, and was assistant coach of Queensland A, before being recruited to coach the IBM club in Japan. He joins the Rebels off the back of success at Munster, where as defensive and skills coach he played a part in two European Cup victories. McGahan would go on to become head coach of the Irish club in 2008, winning the RaboDirect PRO12 twice in his four years.

Tony McGahan will take over from Damien Hill on August 1. It is unsure whether Hill will stay with the Rebels, but his popularity with the playing group suggests that the club would endeavour to find a place for him.

While this is a significant announcement for the Melbourne Rebels, its implications for the national team are much more profound. In this author’s opinion, the announcement suggests that Ewen McKenzie will soon be appointed the head coach of the Wallabies.

Even before the Wallabies’ defeat at the hands of the Lions on Saturday, the speculative replacement to Robbie Deans had been a race in two, between McKenzie, and Brumbies mentor Jake White. McKenzie had been the heir apparent since stepping down as head coach of the Reds before the 2013 Super Rugby season, but as Jake White’s stocks grew with each impressive Brumbies performance, McKenzie, who hails from Victoria, began to position himself as a legitimate option for the Rebels, who had made no secret of their desire to snare the Super Rugby-winning coach.

The fact that the Rebels have made this announcement before Robbie Deans’ future has been decided, suggests that McKenzie has been given the tap, and that an announcement is imminent.

What do you think? Have the dots been connected or does mindless speculation abound?

Melbourne Rebels

Stuart Fazakerley is an enigmatic prop/inside centre for the Melbourne Rebels and Wallabies, who holds records for the most tries scored inside both a Super Rugby and Rugby Championship season. Outside of Rugby Challenge on Xbox, Stuart is a general battler who has been spreading the word of the game they play in heaven from all the benches he warms.

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