Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby assistant coach Craig McGrath has signed a two-year contract extension which will see him remain at the club until the end of 2018.
McGrath will continue his role as the club’s Super Rugby defence coach, Melbourne Rising assistant coach and head coach of the Rebels U20s development program.
“Craig’s been a key member of the coaching staff so we’re pleased that he will continue to play a significant role at a Super Rugby level and in the development of our next generation,” Rebels General Manager Rugby Operation Baden Stephenson said.
“A club record of six Victorian contracted players for 2017 is a great reflection of Craig’s work with the development of local home grown players through the Rebels U20s and Melbourne Rising pathway programs.”
The former scrumhalf and Maori All Black representative moved to Melbourne in 2014 after a successful playing career, which included a Super Rugby title with the Blues in 2003 and a stint overseas with Coventry RUFC in England, Viadana in Italy and Boyne Rugby Club in Ireland.
McGrath has impressed as an assistant coach of the Melbourne Rising, who became the first team to reach three consecutive National Rugby Championship semi-finals, and led the Rebels U20s to the inaugural grand final of the Super 20s Championship as head coach in 2016.
McGrath initially joined the club as a Development Coach, primarily assisting head coach Tony McGahan as an attack coach, before his appointment as the Rebels defence coach ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
“It’s pleasing for me and my family because we love Melbourne and we’re excited about what lies ahead for us here,” McGrath said.
“I continue to learn a lot off Tony (McGahan), particular in defence as he’s been doing that since 2014, so as much as I’m teaching the boys I’m learning myself off the fellow coaching group which is a great experience.
“I’m excited to still be working with the Rebels U20s, we’ve got some great talent in Victoria and I’m really enjoying working with the boys and shaping them to be the next professional players coming through the Rebels program.”
The Melbourne Rebels kick off the 2017 Super Rugby season against the Blues at AAMI Park, Melbourne, on Thursday 23 February.