Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has no regrets about turning down the role of Wallabies assistant coach

Tim Gavel 22 December 2020
Dan McKellar

Dan McKellar will stay with the Brumbies rather than take on a role with the Wallabies this coming season. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

As Dan McKellar prepares for his fourth season at the helm of the Brumbies, he has already amassed a well-earned reputation as a future head coach of the Wallabies.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie wanted McKellar to be his assistant, taking charge of the forwards for the 2020 campaign.

McKellar says he was keen to take on the dual roles of Brumbies head coach and Wallabies assistant but pulled out when his attack coach at the Brumbies for the past three years, Peter Hewat, signed to coach Japanese team Ricoh. There was also the departure of experienced strength and conditioning coach John Mitchell.

McKellar says he wanted to ensure there was stability in the pre-season at the Brumbies, working alongside new attacks coach Rod Seib and forwards coach Laurie Fisher.

Dave Rennie publicly expressed his disappointment when McKellar turned down the job with the Wallabies, telling The Australian: “My thinking with Dan is that I was looking for someone beyond my time and Dan has the ability to coach the Wallabies, so the thinking was to get him into the team and have him ready to go post the [2023] World Cup. But obviously, that is not going to happen the way I planned it.”

For his part, Dan McKellar, speaking after the Wallabies’ campaign and in the midst of a Brumbies pre-season, said he has no regrets about the decision. He says that if anything the decision has been reinforced as he prepares for the upcoming Super Rugby season.

Having said that, there is optimism that an opportunity with the Wallabies will happen in the future, but for the time being his focus is on the Brumbies.

In the eyes of many his commitment to his club side to ensure a smooth transition with a change of attack coaches has further enhanced his reputation.

Known as a no-nonsense coach, he has achieved considerable success at the Brumbies, taking the team to the Super Rugby AU title in 2020.

Next year he says he is looking forward to not only preparing his side for the Australian Super Rugby Championship but also the games against the New Zealand teams starting with the Crusaders immediately after the Australian section is completed.

By the time he has completed next season, he will have been in Canberra for 10 years, having been first recruited to coach the Tuggeranong Vikings. He spent two years at the Vikings before joining the Brumbies as an assistant coach to Steve Larkham, before taking over from Larkham in 2018.

McKellar has been incredibly effective in instilling an attacking approach in his playing squad, giving them confidence to run more.

The Brumbies are justifiably the premier Super Rugby team in Australia, due in no small part to the guidance of Dan McKellar.


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