McGahan and Rebels go their separate ways

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rebels coach Tony McGahan will depart Melbourne at the end of 2017, bringing his four year tenure at the club to an end.

There have been whispers for some months that McGahan would not be part of the club beyond 2017 and the Rebels confirmed those whispers with a statement today.

The club have not announced who will be the head coach in 2018, though Morgan Turinui has been calling the shots at training for the back half of this season, with McGahan only playing a minor role.

The Rebels have managed just one win in 2017 and that, along with the anxiety as to whether the club will survive the ARU's axe, is understood to have taken its toll on McGahan.McGahan has led the Rebels for four years. Photo: Getty ImagesHe breathed life into a club that struggled for consistency under Damien Hill, taking the team to two straight seven win seasons but injury has crippled the club's campaign in 2017.

“Tony has been a loyal and committed leader of the club since the moment he arrived in Melbourne,” Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.

“This has been a particularly tough year on and off the field and we are grateful for the resilience and determination Tony has shown to keep the players and staff focussed on performance.

“Tony’s legacy will remain with the club through the program that he has established, processes that are in place and upcoming talent he has nurtured and we wish him the best in his future direction.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika expressed his surprise at the decision at Wallabies training this afternoon.Michael Cheika expressed his surprise at McGahan's departure today. Photo: Walmsley"I think it's a shame because he's been in a very difficult situation this year without a doubt," Cheika said.

"One thing you see about the man is the way he's held himself all season and he's probably been under different types of pressure and it says a little bit about him too - he was up here yesterday, he didn't mention it at all.

"We were all sitting together.

"He's done a good job down there and it's going to be a shame that he's finishing up.

"That's the first thing I can (say) but I'd rather speak to him first."

It's not known where McGahan will head from this point forward, though he is held in high regard in Europe, where he coached Munster from 2008 to 2012.

McGahan will still take the reigns for the club's last two games of 2017 - a clash with the Force in Perth and a home game against the Jaguares.