Belfast Telegraph

Tony McGahan moves as Australia's coach Robbie Deans faces exit

By Robert Jones

Former Munster coach Tony McGahan has brushed aside his involvement with the humiliated Australian national team after being named as head coach of troubled Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels.

McGahan, a 'coaching co-ordinator' with the Wallabies, was installed as part of the expected reshuffle in Australian rugby that will see national coach Robbie Deans ousted and replaced by Ewen McKenzie.

"Tony comes to Melbourne highly regarded as an international coach with a record of success at the top level," said Rebels chief executive Rob Clarke.

"In particular, his time at Munster was a memorable period for the club, with multiple titles in the Heineken Cup and Celtic League."

McGahan was defence coach when Munster won the Heineken Cup in 2006 and 2008.

Ironically, one of his first tasks will be to become embroiled in a tussle with his erstwhile Leinster rival Michael Cheika, currently Waratahs coach, to secure the services of the erratic but gifted Kurtley Beale.

Cheika also hopes to retain winger Israel Folau for another season, meaning he will be available for Australia's November tour, during which they face Ireland.

Meanwhile, Warren Gatland believes the next crop of British and Irish Lions will have what it takes to end a 42-year wait for a Test series victory over New Zealand when the two sides meet in four year's time.

This year's Lions squad is still celebrating a 2-1 success over Australia – their first Test series win since 1997 – achieved with a number of exciting young players playing crucial roles.

Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Alex Corbisiero, Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau all shone and Gatland expects them to be the world-class talent at the heart of the 2017 touring squad.

Asked if he thought the Lions could win in New Zealand, current Lions boss Gatland said: "Yes, I think if we get things right in terms of the preparation and stuff.

"If you look at how young this squad is, a lot of them could be around in four years' time.

"If they are playing well enough and you have got four more years' experience and they are in their late 20s, that potentially makes the Lions squad in four years' time incredibly strong.

"You've always got to believe that when you go somewhere you go there to win.

"The whole focus on this tour was about delivering the Test series win."

Belfast Telegraph


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