Wessels signs with Rebels

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Melbourne Rebels have got their man, with Dave Wessels signing on as the new coach of the club.

The Rebels will make an announcement this morning confirming the news, which will be music to the ears of fans, powerbrokers at both the VRU and ARU and perhaps most importantly, Force players that were eager to link up with the highly touted coach in Melbourne.

News that he is has committed until the end of 2019 is a huge result for the Rebels and Australian rugby on the whole, as Wessels’ signature has been highly sought after since the ARU announced the Force as the team that would be cut from Super Rugby in 2018.

"I’m very grateful to everyone at the Rebels and within Australian rugby for helping make this move possible,” Wessels said.

“For me, the decision was driven by a strong feeling of ‘unfinished business’ in Super Rugby.Dave Wessels has been highly touted for his work with the Force. Photo: Getty Images"I’m very passionate about rugby, and the game in this country has provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my dream to coach professionally.

"Part of repaying this faith is realising the success that I know we’re capable of."

Wessels set the bar very high when talking about the club's future expectations.

“Make no mistake, our goal is to win Super Rugby," he said.

"We’re finalising an exciting group of coaches and players who will not only contribute to building an enviable and winning culture at the club, but who will progress us towards that ultimate goal."

The 34-year-old also said there were many similarities between the rugby loving public in Perth and Melbourne.

"I’m excited about the prospect of coaching in Melbourne as the Rebels share many of the characteristics I have grown to love from my time in Western Australia," Wessels said.Wessels turned down big money in Europe to sign with the Rebels. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Their players and fans have shared our uncertainty over the past couple of months and we are the ‘outsiders’ of the traditional powers in Australian rugby.

"These are very powerful galvanising forces for a club, and we’re very motivated by the fact that it’s ‘us versus the rest’.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was extremely complimentary of Wessels' work when asked about the South African before news he had committed to the Rebels was made public.

"He has done an outstanding job in Perth," Cheika said.

"I say that because I have seen the players that have come in here and how they’ve come in, with their attitude into the camp.

"Not that I have been spying on his sessions or anything.

"That’s how I have known that. Him and the assistant coaches for that matter, Shaun Berne and Joe Barakat.

Cheika is confident Adam Coleman will stay in Australian rugby. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I would really like to see them stay in Australian rugby for sure."

Cheika also spoke with confidence when asked about the future of Adam Coleman, which was intrinsically linked with Wessels' movements.

"I have been talking to him and he’s been very clear where his head is at - I am feeling very confident," Cheika said.

"I take nothing for granted obviously but I feel very confident he has one big objective in his mind and that he’ll be here.

"We obviously have to do the right things, like in any negotiation process but I am sure that will happen.

"I am very comfortable for him to take his time as well."