Hill to coach, Macqueen moves upstairs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hill to coach, Macqueen moves upstairs

By Guy Hand 16/06/2011 06:32:10 PM Comments (0)

Rod Macqueen will step on to the Melbourne Rebels' board of directors next season and away from day-to-day coaching at the Super Rugby club.

Assistant Damien Hill has been appointed head coach of the Rebels for the next two seasons, replacing ex-Wallabies mentor Macqueen.

Macqueen will coach his final game in the Rebels' clash with Western Force at Melbourne's AAMI Park on Friday night.

He will then move upstairs to become the club's director of coaching until the end of 2013, as well as join the Rebels' board.

Speculation had been rife Macqueen would vacate the head coaching post, and it was confirmed by Rebels chairman Harold Mitchell on Thursday.

"The Rebels and Rod Macqueen are synonymous with each other and our sincere hope is that Rod is not only with us for the next few years, but for many more to come," Mitchell said in a statement.

Macqueen has so far guided the Rebels to three wins in their inaugural Super Rugby season.

They will officially pick up the competition's wooden spoon regardless of the result of the match against the Force.

Hill had success coaching in Sydney grade rugby before joining the Rebels as Macqueen's offsider.

Macqueen has heartily endorsed Hill's credentials to guide the club to success over the next two seasons as part of a succession plan he says he always had in mind.

"When selecting the coaching staff we always had succession planning in place," he said.

"Damien is very respected by peers and players alike, and he strongly reflects the culture that we are endeavouring to build at the Rebels."

While the Rebels have sorted their coaching out for next season, they are still holding off on confirming the expected signing of Force star James O'Connor.

Melbourne is expected to be the Wallabies' utility back's new home, but perhaps the club is waiting until playing the Force before announcing the deal.

Force officials were seething this week about O'Connor's departure.

But Force skipper David Pocock said losing one of Australian rugby's brightest prospect was a blow the club could overcome.

"As a mate, I'm sad to see him go but I guess that's the nature of sport. It's done now - we move on," said Pocock, who will skipper the side in the absence of the injured Nathan Sharpe.

After concerns over the volcanic ash emergency which had caused air travel havoc, the Force arrived in Melbourne without incident on Thursday.

Utility back Julian Huxley has been dropped to the reserves bench for the Rebels.

Former Brumby Afusipa Taumoepeau will start in the centres.

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