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Dave Wessels stands down from Rebels, leaving two Australian clubs without permanent head coaches

Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels.

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Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has announced he’s quitting his role with the Super Rugby club.


Wessels won’t continue to coach the team through the upcoming Trans-Tasman portion of Super Rugby season, with a replacement to be announced.

Assistant coach Kevin Foote is the likely candidate.

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Dan McKellar & Tim Sampson interview – Brumbies v Force Super Rugby AU semifinal
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Dan McKellar & Tim Sampson interview – Brumbies v Force Super Rugby AU semifinal

Missing the Super Rugby AU finals with just three wins for the season, Wessels says it’s time to “pass the baton” to someone else.

Wessels joined Melbourne after two seasons with the Force when they were cast out ahead of the 2018 season.

The 39-year-old was touted as a future Wallabies coach but the Rebels have struggled for consistency.

His resignation follows the Waratahs decision to sack Kiwi coach Rob Penney earlier this season.


Wessels said the club was ready for a new phase.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve reflected a lot and I feel the time is right to pass the baton to someone else,” Wessels said in a statement.

“I’ve learnt an incredible amount, built some really strong friendships and I feel confident that I am leaving the club in a really good place.”

Melbourne Rebels boss Baden Stephenson said he respected Dave’s decision and acknowledged his significant contribution over the last four years.


“When Dave commenced the role at the end of 2017 it took a very special coach to lead our club through a period of intense change and he has done an almighty job to establish and evolve many foundations that the club will continue to build on in the future,” Stephenson said.

“Dave developed Wallabies, identified and unearthed some elite talent, achieved the most successful seasons in the club’s history amongst some very memorable victories.

“Dave’s work ethic, detail, desire, generosity and leadership were hallmarks of his tenure.”

Wessels will remain with the club, working with Stephenson in a transitional role across all elements of the rugby program.

– Melissa Woods


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