Dan McKellar ready for 'exciting' All Blacks challenge following Brumbies departure

Wed, 04/08/2021, 06:12 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies forwards coach Dan McKellar is preparing for life after Brumbies as he welcomes the All Blacks. Photo: Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media

Wallabies forwards coach Dan McKellar is excited to face the daunting task of preparing for the All Blacks as he begins looking at life after the Brumbies.

McKellar announced on Wednesday he would step down from his role at the nation's capital, making the move full-time to the Wallabies.

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The Queensland native admits the opportunity to coach at the national level whilst returning home was too tough to turn down.

“It’s incredible tough,” McKellar said. “I’ll be incredibly grateful to the Brumbies and it’s been a huge part of my life, I’ve spent the best part of a decade in Canberra including my time at Tuggeranong.

“It’ll be a sad day to get back there once I finish my commitments here (with the Wallabies) and rip in and a have a really good season to finish off my time there.

“The timing was right for me and my family. I’ve got two young girls and a wife who have been incredibly supportive and it’s probably time for them to go home back to Queensland.

“It’s time for me to challenge myself and coach at the highest level with the Wallabies.”

The progression for McKellar seems natural, having been linked with the Wallabies for the past couple of seasons, even seen as a potential heir to Dave Rennie's mantle by the man himself.

Whilst national aspirations and coaching gigs would be considered a no-brainer move for McKellar, he admits the decision was tough given the connection and affection he has for the Brumbies.

“It’s tough because of the love you have for the place and people that are involved,” he admitted.

“I’ve got a lot of good memories there and I hope we can create a few more next year.”

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With his future lying in gold, McKellar will get himself familiar with the unique and daunting challenge of scouting and preparing for one of the best sides in the world at their spiritual home: the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Despite the 35-year drought facing the side, McKellar and the squad were excited by the prospect of etching their names into history and taking a live decider back to Australia for the first time since 1984.

“Excited more than daunting would be the emotion that we’re feeling,” McKellar said on back-to-back Eden Park Tests.

“Two Bledisloes in a great stadium and atmosphere, big crowd is why you play and coach. We’e all excited for the challenge.”

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The 45-year-old is well aware of the threats the All Blacks possess, given a direct insight across Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as the Brumbies won just once in the tournament.

Whilst they might not show at times, McKellar reaffirmed they were human and stressed the importance of pressure and causing the All Blacks stress in order to cause mistakes.

“Where do you start? They’ve got threats across the park,” McKellar said on the All Blacks strengths.

“They’re one of the best teams in the world and they’ll challenge at set piece, like any NZ side they’ll challenge on turnover attack. From an unstructured scenario, we need to make sure that we defend well.

“They have quality players but the big thing is they’re human beings and if you put them under pressure, put a little bit of stress on them, we saw last year through Wallaby performances they can feel that stress, pressure and anxiety and cash in off the back of them.

“We’ve got a whole lot of respect for them. There’s quality across the park and we’ve focused on what we’ve learnt from the French series and understand that we need to front up in a couple of key areas to win our first game in Eden Park.”

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