Rugby Union


Dan McKellar confident he can fill Laurie Fisher's shoes at ACT Brumbies

ACT Brumbies assistant coach Dan McKellar is confident he can fill the hole left by director of rugby Laurie Fisher when the club's coaching ranks are overhauled at the end of the season.

The Brumbies will restructure their coaching set-up when their Super Rugby campaign ends, with Stephen Larkham stepping up as a traditional head coach, Fisher leaving to join Gloucester, McKellar in line to take charge of the forwards, and another coach expected to be added.

But for now the trio is focused on lifting the Brumbies into the finals and keeping their championship dream alive.

McKellar has also been working to start the Canberra Vikings program for the new National Rugby Championship, which starts with a home match against Perth on August 23.

The first-year Super Rugby coach - who has taken on defence and the set-piece as his specialties - says he's ready to take on more responsibility in Fisher's absence.

"I certainly feel like I'm ready,'' he said. "It's been great to work with and under Laurie for the best part of 12 months.


"I've now got a very good grasp on how the Brumbies play and what they've brought in, I'd feel more than comfortable in taking on that extra responsibility. We've had some initial discussions, but nothing has been locked in."

The Brumbies need to beat the Western Force at Canberra Stadium on Friday night to guarantee a place in the finals.

Larkham and Fisher recruited former Tuggeranong Vikings premiership-winning coach McKellar to join the team when Jake White quit.

McKellar will lead the Canberra Vikings into the NRC, with his squad to be finalised soon.  There will be 15 contracted Brumbies and 17 of Canberra's best club players in the team to play in the third-tier competition.

The Vikings will start their season against Perth and all four home games will be played at Viking Park. They will play in a televised game on August 28.

A squad of Canberra's best 23 club players will start training on Wednesday night.

"I've taken plenty out of my first year [in Super Rugby], I had a fair idea on the expectations," McKellar said.

"It has been a quick transition. I learnt plenty with the [Tuggeranong Vikings] as a little apprenticeship. Things have happened pretty quickly for me, but I've been fortunate to work with a very good group of players."

Larkham will wait until after the Super Rugby season before locking in plans for the coaching structure after sharing the role with Fisher this season.

The World Cup-winning flyhalf will also use the NRC as a testing ground for potential recruits for the 2015 season.