Sydney - The Melbourne Rebels have continued their end-of-season clean-out by
sacking head coach Damien Hill, a day after sensationally dumping
Australia back James O'Connor.
Hill will be replaced by former
Munster coach Tony McGahan who joins the struggling Super Rugby
franchise on a two-year deal, the team said in a statement on Monday.
comes to Melbourne highly regarded as an international coach with a
record of success at the top level," Rebels chief executive Rob Clarke
"In particular, his time at Munster was a memorable period
for the famous club, with multiple titles in the Heineken Cup and Celtic
League (now RaboDirect Pro 12)."
McGahan was appointed an
assistant to Australia coach Robbie Deans last year. It was unclear
whether he would remain in the Wallabies role, with the Australian Rugby
Union expected to fire Deans this week in the wake of the 2-1 series
loss to the British and Irish Lions.
McGahan's appointment puts an
end to speculation that Ewen McKenzie, outgoing coach of the rival Reds, would take over the Rebels post if overlooked for the
McKenzie is in a two-horse race to replace Deans with former World Cup-winning coach Jake White, according to local media.
for a big improvement in their third season of Super Rugby, the Rebels
have disappointed during a tough year marred by injuries and discipline
problems with key players.
Hill, an assistant to inaugural Rebels
coach Rod Macqueen, managed only four wins after taking over from the
World Cup-winning mentor last year and has added only four wins this
year with one match left to play in the regular season.
announced mid-season that the team would not guarantee Hill a contract
extension and would replace him in the off-season if they found a
The announcement came weeks after marquee
signing Kurtley Beale punched captain Gareth Delve and another team mate
in a boozy incident on a team bus in South Africa.
fellow Wallabies playmaker Beale, O'Connor's recruitment last year was
to have been the platform for the Rebels' bid for a maiden appearance in
the playoffs but the team have reaped little value from the pair due to
a string of injuries and off-field problems.
Beale's future at
the Melbourne club remains under a cloud, but with O'Connor leaving
along with Delve and a clutch of retiring players, the Rebels are likely
to have some room in their salary cap to retain the troubled back.
Hill will coach the Rebels for their last game of the season at home to New Zealand's Highlanders on Friday.