Dave Wessels, head coach of Melbourne Ripples, has made the surprising decision to quit after missing the Super Rugby AU Finals.
Wessels was in the final year of his contract and was set to train the Rebels for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition that kicks off next month.
The South African was in his fourth season captaining the Rebels and would come out with a record number of 24 wins, 29 losses and one draw.
Wessels announced his decision to the Rebels players on Friday and his contract with Rebels will expire in a “transition role across all elements of the rugby show”.
“Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot and feel the time is right to hand the wand to someone else,” said Wessels.
“Life in Melbourne and coaching the Melbourne Rebel team was a great experience. I have learned an incredible amount, made some really strong friendships and I feel confident that I will leave the club in a really good place …
“ I’d like to give someone else the same opportunity – to test themselves and grow to the next stage in the club journey …
“I would like to thank the group that plays here at the club. We have been unlucky this season, but I know what kind of men you are. Success is just around the corner.”
The rebels did not announce a replacement for Lewisel and said that they would “announce their decisions next week.”
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The Legend of the Wallabies Tim Horan said last week that rebel aide Kevin Foote would be a capable interim coach For the remainder of the season, Wesels should be removed from office.
Wesel appears to have bought himself some time by beating Warata last weekend.
Rebel chief Paul Docherty thanked Wessels for his contribution.
“Dave is one of the best people around in rugby, he is passionate and dedicated and has left nothing on the table regarding his commitment to our club,” Docherty said.
“This has not been more evident than during the impacts of COVID over the past two seasons.
“Dave’s leadership and sacrifices during this time have been remarkable as he has managed the club for an entire season on the road for more than three months last year and one month this year, without his wife and three young children remaining in Melbourne.”