Wessels extends time at Rebels, rules out Wallabies

Super Rugby
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Dave Wessels has extended his time in Melbourne through to 2021, putting him on track to be the club's longest-serving coach.

Wessels was the target of some big overseas offers, with Welsh club Scarlets chasing him as a prospective coach late last year, but the 35-year-old has opted to stay with the Rebels..

This new deal would make him the equal-longest serving Rebels coach in the club's history, drawing level with Tony McGahan who coached the team from 2014-2017.

His decision to stay with the Rebels also likely ruled him out of a tilt at a Wallabies role, with Michael Cheika set to step down from his post after this year's World Cup.

Wessels had been considered a contender to succeed Cheika but this news would put any national aspirations on ice for a little longer.

Dave Wessels has committed to the Rebels. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIn a release, Wessels said a strong belief in the Rebels and their future made it an easy decision to stay around.

“My wife and I are very grateful to be given the opportunity to continue our journey here in Melbourne,” he said.

“I really believe we can be successful here. Melbourne’s a wonderful place to be able to do that. The city is sports mad and provides an unbelievable environment for anyone lucky enough to work in sport. As a team, we often talk about the ‘Magic of Melbourne’.”

“I honestly have the best job in the world – coming to work every day with young men who want to get better and an incredibly committed team of staff who give everything to help create the environment for that to happen, and an incredibly supportive CEO and Board.”

“We’ve made some good progress but there is still so much to be done. Thank you for the chance to keep going.”

Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson had plenty of praise for Wessels, who joined the club ahead of the 2018 season and helped deliver their equal-most season wins last year.

“The transformation of this club into a genuine high performance rugby program during Dave’s tenure is nothing short of remarkable,” he said.

“His ability to inspire those around him, from assistant coaches to players and backroom staff, is a testament to the leader he is and he is still his own hardest taskmaster.

“His talent and potential as a coach motivated us very strongly to be proactive in making this offer to extend Dave’s contract. He was in demand elsewhere and his re-commitment to the Club is the greatest endorsement I can offer players, members, partners, fans and the wider Victorian rugby community that we have a lot to be excited about in the years to come.’

“We are confident we have an experienced Super Rugby coach who can take us all the way.” 

The Rebels play the Rebels at GIO Stadium on Friday February 15, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.