Rebels finalise coaching staff

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

New Rebels coach Dave Wessels has dragged three key coaches east, naming former Force assistant Joe Barakat, Kevin Foote and Shaun Berne as three of his four assistants for 2018.

Wessels was very complimentary of that trio during his time in Perth and they will form a critical part of his support network next year, with current Rebels assistant Craig McGrath also retained.

The same can't be said for Zane Hilton, the Rising coach departing the club after three years in Melbourne.

Morgan Turinui will also take a step back from his current post as assistant coach, remaining at the club in an ambassadorial role until the end of the year.Zane Hilton will move on from Melbourne. Photo: Walmsley"I want to take the opportunity to thank Zane and Morgan for their contribution to the Rebels, both have provided significant leadership and player development in their respective roles," Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.

"Along with his work as forwards coach, Zane will leave a lasting legacy for Victorian rugby with his unwavering commitment to the development of local talent through his work with the Dewar Shield and Rising program.

"Morgan has been a wealth of knowledge and experience for our young group over the last 18 months and has played a key role in the development of key backs, including Wallabies Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Sefa Naivalu and future Wallaby Jack Maddocks."

Barakat joins the Rebels after a year working with Wessels as defence coach, having coached at Ulster and two Japanese clubs prior to 2017.

Foote heads to Melbourne having taken control of the Spirit for the NRC season just gone, with Berne having steered the club's attack this year.

The club have also named Will Markwick as Head of Athletic Performance, following three years with the Force and the NBL's Perth Wildcats.

The announcement finalises the rugby department at the Rebels for 2018, having already secured the highly sought after signature of Wessels and General Manager Professional Rugby and Pathways Nick Ryan.

They have also retained Head Physiotherapist Cullan Ball, Head Performance Analyst Eoin Toolan, Assistant Performance Analyst John Batina, and Strength and Conditioner Shane Lehane.