Assistant Kevin Foote will step up as the Melbourne Rebels interim head coach following the resignation of Dave Wessels from the Super Rugby post. Foote has been with the Rebels for four years as defence coach and previously coached in his homeland South Africa and also in the National Rugby Championship with Perth.

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He will take over immediately, looking to prepare the Rebels for the Trans-Tasman component of the Super Rugby, with their first match against the Blues in Melbourne on May 15.

Wessels announced his resignation last week after Melbourne missed the Super Rugby AU playoffs, while Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne has joined him in departing the club. The Wallabies coaching staff will assist the Rebels in the short term.

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Tate McDermott looks ahead to the Super Rugby AU final

Melbourne boss Baden Stephenson said that Foote’s appointment would provide some continuity in the programme, whilst bringing in some fresh elements as well following a Super Rugby AU campaign that saw three wins in eight matches.

“Kevin is excited to have been given the opportunity to take on the interim head coach role and is looking forward to the Trans-Tasman series,” Stephenson said. “He is well respected and has a great relationship with the playing group and other staff.”

Foote, 42, said it was a privilege to have an opportunity in the head coach role. “I have big shoes to fill in following Dave’s departure and want to thank him for all his support, leadership and friendship over our years working together and look forward to building on the strong platform he has left at the club.

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“We have a big job ahead of ourselves with the Trans-Tasman series starting in just two weeks and I am excited to work with the team and our staff to ensure we are ready to go come our first game against the Blues.”

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