After four years of underwhelming results, Dave Wessels has announced he’s quitting as Melbourne Rebels coach.
- Wessels has resigned as head coach but will remain with the club in a transitional role
- He took over as head coach of the Rebels at the end of 2017
- Wessels says it’s time to “pass the baton to someone else”
Wessels won’t continue through the upcoming trans-Tasman portion of Super Rugby season, with a replacement to be announced. Assistant coach Kevin Foote is the likely candidate.
Missing the Super Rugby AU finals with just three wins for the season and boasting a 44 per cent winning strike rate during his tenure, Wessels says it’s time to “pass the baton” to someone else.
Wessels joined Melbourne after two seasons with the Western Force when the Perth franchise was 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.
He 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 Wessels’ 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.