Rebels coach stands down

Dave Wessels has quit as Melbourne Rebels coach following the team’s failure to reach the Super Rugby AU finals series.

With speculation mounting over his future, the South African mentor stood down from his job on Friday, just two weeks before the start of Super Rugby trans-Tasman series.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve reflected a lot and I feel the time is right to pass the baton to someone else,” said Wessels, who took charge of the Rebels in September 2017 after his previous club Western Force was cut from the Super Rugby competition.

“Living in Melbourne and coaching the Melbourne Rebels has been a wonderful experience. 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.

“I’d like to thank my wife for her incredible support in our Rebels journey. Being at home with young children whilst your partner travels for their role is often a much harder proposition, and I couldn’t have got through the last two COVID-impacted seasons without her amazing backing.

“I’d also like to thank our coaching team and staff at the Rebels who have been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside.

“A big thank you also to the Rebels members and supporters, you have shared the highs and lows alongside our team and I appreciate all your support that you have shown me.

“Finally, I’d like to thank the playing group here at the club. We’ve been unlucky this season, but I know with the type of men that you are, success is just around the corner.”

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity…the @MelbourneRebels are a special club filled with many special people. I look forward to catching up with you all down the road! pic.twitter.com/AGVgNJhOvK

The Rebels board will next week to announce Wessels’ replacement.

Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson “respected” Wessels’ decision to quit and acknowledged his “significant contribution”.

“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’s work ethic, detail, desire, generosity and leadership were hallmarks of his tenure, and I look forward to working with him over the coming months to set the club up for future success.”

Rebels chairman Paul Docherty thanked Wessels for his dedication.

“Dave is one of the finest people going around in rugby. He is passionate, dedicated and has left nothing on the table in respect to his commitment to our club,” Docherty said.

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