Leicester confirm ex-Australia assistant McKellar as new coach after Borthwick exit

By Sports Desk February 22, 2023

Former Australia assistant coach Dan McKellar has departed the Wallabies to take charge of Leicester Tigers from next season.

The former Brumbies boss will become the permanent successor to England coach Steve Borthwick at the Premiership Rugby club.

McKellar exits the backroom staff of new Australia boss Eddie Jones, who returned to the top job at the Wallabies following his own exit at Twickenham.

The 46-year-old's arrival at Welford Road signals the end of a coaching reshuffle between the club and the two nations, just months ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

"We are delighted to be able to confirm Dan McKellar's appointment to the head coach role at Leicester Tigers from next season," club chief executive officer Andrea Pinchen said.

"This has been a rigorous process, over a period of almost six months, and always been about ensuring that we found the very best coach to lead this club into the future.

"His style of coaching, his interactions and passion for wanting to improve players, his interest in developing Tigers-made players and our connection with our community has shown he understands the uniqueness of this club.

"Dan is committed to long-term success at Leicester Tigers, and we are looking forward to welcoming him and his family in the summer, before getting to work together."

McKellar will not take charge until the end of the 2022-23 campaign at Leicester, with the Tigers set to continue under interim boss Richard Wigglesworth.

The former scrum-half is then set to link up with former coach Borthwick and fellow assistant Kevin Sinfield as part of the national set-up ahead of the World Cup.

After losing their opening Six Nations game to Scotland, England bounced back to give their new boss a maiden victory against Italy earlier this month.

They next play Wales on Saturday, before games with holders France and championship favourites Ireland in March.

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    Southgate's contract was due to expire at the end of the year, but the 53-year-old had admitted he was unlikely to carry on if they did not lift the trophy.

    He was in charge of the Three Lions for eight years, having taken on the role following Sam Allardyce's abrupt exit in September 2016.

    Southgate managed England at four major tournaments, leading them to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in the first.

    The former defender then led the side to their first major tournament final since 1966 at Euro 2020, losing 3-2 on penalties to Italy at Wembley, before guiding them to the quarter-finals at the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

    His final tournament in charge saw his side reach their first-ever final on foreign soil, though a 2-1 defeat to Spain saw England become the first team in history to lose consecutive Euros finals, with Southgate the only manager to ever lose two such matches.

    Southgate took charge of 102 matches with England, winning 61 of those, with the Three Lions netting 223 goals during his tenure.

    His 14 wins at major tournaments are the most of any manager in England's history, while they reached more finals (two) in four attempts than they did in their first 23 appearances at the World Cup and Euros.

    Speaking to the Football Association's (FA) website, Southgate said: "As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England.

    "It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all. But it's time for change, and for a new chapter. Sunday's final in Berlin against Spain was my final game as England manager.

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    The Three Lions fought back through Cole Palmer after Nico Williams' early second-half opener but conceded a late Mikel Oyarzabal goal in their 2-1 defeat to La Roja.

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    With the World Cup to follow in 2026, a new era may await England, who must bounce back once more after another setback on the biggest stage.

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