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Ex-Brumbies & Leicester coach Dan McKellar joins Waratahs

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former ACT Brumbies and Leicester Tigers mastermind Dan McKellar will be back coaching on Australia’s shores next season after signing a three-year deal to become the NSW Waratahs’ new head coach, the club confirmed on Friday.


McKellar, 47, will succeed Darren Colman in the role after the Waratahs decided not to renew the former coach’s contract beyond this year’s chaotic Super Rugby Pacific season. Injuries plagued their campaign as the New South Welshman won just two of 14 fixtures.

But there’s a reason for Tahs fans to be excited about the future as the pieces of the club’s new frontier continue to come together. After bringing on Simon Raiwalui, the Sydney-based club has secured the services of a Super Rugby AU champion.

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Sarah Hirini on retiring legend Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

New Zealand Sevens star Sarah Hirini gets emotional when asked by Finn Morton about Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, who will retire after the Olympics.

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Sarah Hirini on retiring legend Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

New Zealand Sevens star Sarah Hirini gets emotional when asked by Finn Morton about Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, who will retire after the Olympics.

As Australian fans will no doubt remember, McKellar led the charge for the Brumbies as they claimed the title in 2020. That was just one standout moment from the coach’s career which has included stops domestically and abroad.

It’s almost no surprise the Tahs described the highly-regarded rugby guru as “the standout applicant” in a statement. McKellar also worked with the Wallabies as an assistant coach for a few years, after all.

“We’re delighted to have a head coach of Dan McKellar’s calibre joining the Waratahs,” CEO Paul Doorn said in a statement.

“Dan has an impressive coaching resume and achieved great success with the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby during his five-year tenure.


“Dan will work closely with High Performance Director Simon Raiwalui, and their partnership marks an exciting new frontier for the Waratahs.

“I am confident that the appointments of Dan and Simon will put the Waratahs on the path to delivering sustained success from 2025 and beyond.”

McKellar played more than 150 games for South Rugby Club in Brisbane before moving into coaching. Th Australian was the head coach of the prestigious Queensland club from 2008 to 2010 before moving south to Canberra.

Tuggeranong Vikings brought McKellar on as a Coaching Director and Head Coach. McKellar later moved on to positions in Japan with NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes, the ACT Brumbies, University of Canberra Vikings and then back to Super Rugby with the Brumbies.


During that second stint with the Australian rugby powerhouse, the Brumbies made the semi-finals in 2019, won Super Rugby AU the following year, and backed that up with a valiant performance in the 2021 final against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

After also working with the Australia national team and most recently Leicester Tigers, McKellar is looking forward to joining the Waratahs.

“I’m extremely pleased to be joining the NSW Waratahs,” McKellar explained.

“Rugby in NSW has a proud history of over 150 years and the Waratahs are the pinnacle of representation within the state.

“The club fell short of expectations in 2024 but there are building blocks in place to improve on.

“I’m motivated and passionate to deliver a vastly improved performance next season, comprising of consistent efforts that will make the loyal Waratahs fanbase proud.”

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David 14 days ago

Getting like the EPL with musical chairs for the managers / coaches?

john 14 days ago

Hmmmmm. How long before the Tahs Toffs stab him in the back, being a Queenslander. I’d give it 12 months max.

Don’t do it Taniela. Get some experience overseas.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

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