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Dan McKellar named Brumbies rugby coach

NZN 1/06/2017 Matt Coughlan and Warren Barnsley

Dan McKellar says the return of Brumbies stars David Pocock and Christian Lealiifano will be a major boost when he takes over as head coach next season.

The Brumbies assistant has signed a two-year contract to replace Stephen Larkham who will leave the ACT-based franchise at the end of the season to take up a full-time assistant coaching role with the Wallabies.

Wallabies flanker Pocock will make a timely return from sabbatical to bolster the Brumbies back row with Scott Fardy leaving to join Irish powerhouse Leinster at the end of this season.

"David's a world class player, one of the best in the world, so it will be great to have David back and that experience," McKellar said on Friday.

"Hopefully he comes back refreshed and re-energised and ready to contribute to the Brumbies again."

Co-captain Lealiifano has been with the club in a coaching capacity this season while he recovers from leukaemia.

While Wharenui Hawera has made a solid start to his Super Rugby career, having a world-class flyhalf playing alongside emerging star halfback Joe Powell could add a new dimension to the Brumbies' attack.

"Christian, all things are heading in the right direction there so it'd be great to have him back on field as soon as possible," McKellar said.

The Brumbies are expected to retain a majority of their squad next season, with a raft of off-contract players set to re-sign.

McKellar said despite Super Rugby's difficult climate, players had been in talks with the club about new deals.

With the ARU's moratorium on new player contracts lifted, signings are expected to be announced during the June Test window.

"Hopefully we'll have some really positive announcements with our squad over the next couple of weeks," McKellar said.

McKellar, who has been the defensive coach since 2013, said he hopes to develop a more attacking style of play.

"The Brumbies have always been known for our set-pieces, our defence and our structure," he said.

"What we're trying to evolve is that attacking style and that will continue."

McKellar, a former Queensland Reds prop who has 14 years experience in coaching, got the job after the club embarked on a world-wide search.

"I'll put my own touch on things in a couple of areas but I think succession planning and taking over from Stephen allows us to continue on a similar path," McKellar said.

Brumbies chief executive Michael Thomson said McKellar's vision for the club and rugby knowledge put him at the forefront of a strong field.

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