Leicester confirm ex-Australia assistant McKellar as new coach after Borthwick exit

By Sports Desk February 22, 2023

Former Australia assistant coach Dan McKellar has departed the Wallabies to take charge of Leicester Tigers from next season.

The former Brumbies boss will become the permanent successor to England coach Steve Borthwick at the Premiership Rugby club.

McKellar exits the backroom staff of new Australia boss Eddie Jones, who returned to the top job at the Wallabies following his own exit at Twickenham.

The 46-year-old's arrival at Welford Road signals the end of a coaching reshuffle between the club and the two nations, just months ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

"We are delighted to be able to confirm Dan McKellar's appointment to the head coach role at Leicester Tigers from next season," club chief executive officer Andrea Pinchen said.

"This has been a rigorous process, over a period of almost six months, and always been about ensuring that we found the very best coach to lead this club into the future.

"His style of coaching, his interactions and passion for wanting to improve players, his interest in developing Tigers-made players and our connection with our community has shown he understands the uniqueness of this club.

"Dan is committed to long-term success at Leicester Tigers, and we are looking forward to welcoming him and his family in the summer, before getting to work together."

McKellar will not take charge until the end of the 2022-23 campaign at Leicester, with the Tigers set to continue under interim boss Richard Wigglesworth.

The former scrum-half is then set to link up with former coach Borthwick and fellow assistant Kevin Sinfield as part of the national set-up ahead of the World Cup.

After losing their opening Six Nations game to Scotland, England bounced back to give their new boss a maiden victory against Italy earlier this month.

They next play Wales on Saturday, before games with holders France and championship favourites Ireland in March.

Related items

  • Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony

    England responding to their Euro 2024 heartbreak with success in the future will taste "even sweeter", according to Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

    The England Women's star launched a staunch defence of Gareth Southgate's men's side after their 2-1 defeat in the European Championship final to Spain.

    Southgate's Three Lions are the first side in history to lose two consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first to suffer defeat in two separate showpieces of the tournament.

    Having lost the Women's World Cup final to Spain last year, Williamson can somewhat relate, but reminded England supporters of the good times under Southgate, whose future remains uncertain.

    "Devastated, especially knowing some of them personally as well," Williamson told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Sweden in qualifying for the Women's European Championship in 2025.

    "What Gareth and his team have done over the last three, four years, reaching finals and bringing that dream closer to reality, we are very lucky as fans of England, men's and women's, to be in the position that we're in.

    "They didn't quite get over the line to a fantastic Spanish team, I know they'll be devastated about it, it will take a while for them to get over it.

    "But us as a country, we've been blessed with incredible tournaments. And when those wins come, which I do believe they will, then they'll be even sweeter."

    England Women's boss Sarina Wiegman led her side to Euro 2022 glory against Germany before the agony against Spain the following year.

    Therefore, Wiegman knows all too well about suffering from setbacks.

    "Takes about three weeks, it took me three weeks to get over it," an honest Wiegman said on how Southgate and Co. will recover.

    "It's very hard ... when you have given your everything, then you hope you win and when you don't, you are really disappointed.

    "But then you start thinking: Okay, did we get everything out of ourselves? Did we do everything that we could that was in our control?

    "And then you have to accept it. It's easier to accept a win than to accept a loss but yeah, for me that takes it took a while."

  • Opta's Euro 2024 Team of the Tournament: Spain dominate but Rodri a surprise omission Opta's Euro 2024 Team of the Tournament: Spain dominate but Rodri a surprise omission

    Spain dominate Opta's Euro 2024 Team of the Tournament after Sunday's 2-1 final victory over England, a result that clinched a record-breaking fourth European crown.

    Five Roja players find themselves in Opta's stats-based XI, but they also contribute the most surprising omission, with Player of the Tournament Rodri missing out.

    England only have one representative despite reaching their first tournament final on foreign soil, with Harry Kane's share of the Golden Boot and Jude Bellingham's stunning overhead kick versus Slovakia not enough to warrant a place.

    Here, we run through those that did make the cut, highlighting a couple of standout stats for each player.

    Giorgi Mamardashvili (Georgia)

    Georgia shot-stopper Mamardashvili conceded more goals than any other player at the tournament (eight), but four of those came in a last-16 defeat to the eventual champions, and he finds his way in between the sticks.

    Starring as Georgia surprisingly escaped Group F, Mamardashvili made 30 saves and prevented 4.76 goals according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) model – the best figure at the tournament.

    Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

    Germany were dumped out in the last eight by Spain, and winning their group via a last-gasp Niclas Fullkrug goal versus Switzerland may actually have harmed the hosts as they wound up on the more challenging side of the draw.

    Kimmich was fielded at right-back by Julian Nagelsmann and was instrumental going forward. In fact, only Lamine Yamal (17) bettered his 16 chances created from open play in just five games.

    Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)

    Akanji's tournament ended in despair as he was denied by Jordan Pickford in Switzerland's quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to England, but he was crucial for one of the competition's best defences.

    Switzerland faced just 2.4 shots on target per game at Euro 2024, fewer than any other side, and conceded less than one expected goal per game (0.95). 

     

    Marc Guehi (England)

    England's lone representative is a man who most would have deemed unlikely to start before the tournament began, Crystal Palace centre-back Guehi.

    In for the injured Harry Maguire, Guehi contested (29) and won (13) more aerial duels throughout the tournament than any other England player and completed 93.5% of his passes.

    Marc Cucurella (Spain)

    When Luis de la Fuente named Cucurella in Spain's starting lineup for their opening game versus Croatia, there were plenty left open-mouthed by the exclusion of Bayer Leverkusen star Alex Grimaldo. 

    However, just three defenders were involved in more open-play attacking sequences than Cucurella's 31, and it was his low cross that led to the tournament's decisive moment; Mikal Oyarzabal's 86th-minute final winner versus England.

    Toni Kroos (Germany)

    Kroos may not have enjoyed a dream send-off ahead of his retirement, but a series of metronomic midfield displays left many fans wishing he would extend his career.

    He made the most line-breaking passes (141) of any player at the tournament, also completing 94.3% of his passes under pressure, the best rate of any player (minimum 100 passes attempted).

     

    Fabian Ruiz (Spain)

    Fabian contributed two goals and two assists throughout the tournament, his driving runs from midfield making him the perfect foil for enforcer Rodri and silky playmaker Dani Olmo.

    No player won possession more often than the Paris Saint-Germain man (46 times), while he also recovered the ball seven times in the final third, setting the tone for De la Fuente's high press.

    Lamine Yamal (Spain)

    The Young Player of the Tournament, Yamal recorded four assists to go with his semi-final stunner against France, with no player on record (since 1980) ever teeing up more goals at a single edition of the European Championships.

    One day after his 17th birthday, he surpassed Pele (17 years, 239 days) as the youngest player to play in a Euros or World Cup final, and he made his mark despite some solid work from England left-back Luke Shaw, teeing up Nico Williams' 47th-minute opener.

     

    Dani Olmo (Spain)

    Olmo is entitled to feel a little miffed at UEFA's decision to share the Golden Boot between all six players that managed three goals. Under the old tie-breaking method, his two assists would have earned him the prize outright.

    His most telling contribution, like that of Yamal, came in the last four, a sumptuous first touch setting him up to finish across Mike Maignan for Spain's winner. 

    Five goal involvements is the joint-most by a Spain player at a European Championship, along with David Silva in 2012, and all the more remarkable is the fact he only started three games.

    Nico Williams (Spain)

    The final Spanish representative, Williams opened the scoring in the final to become the second-youngest player to net in a Euros showpiece match (22 years, two days, behind Italy's Pietro Anastasi in 1968 at 20 years, 64 days).

    Williams posted a higher expected assists (xA) total than any other player (2.06), and was La Roja's standout attacker when it mattered most against England.

    Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

    The Netherlands may have suffered 90th-minute heartbreak against England in the semi-finals, but it was largely thanks to Gakpo that they made it that far.

    Only Olmo and Yamal (five each) bettered his four goal involvements (three goals, one assist) as he earned a share of the Golden Boot. Only Yamal (15) and Kylian Mbappe (11), meanwhile, bettered his 10 chances created following a ball carry. 

     

  • Spanish football deserves a Ballon d'Or winner, says Rodri after Euro 2024 success Spanish football deserves a Ballon d'Or winner, says Rodri after Euro 2024 success

    Rodri believes that a member of Spain's Euro 2024 winning squad deserve to win this year's Ballon d'Or following their triumph over England on Sunday. 

    Rodri, who won his fourth different player of the tournament award, was forced off during the final in Berlin at half-time after picking up an injury. 

    Mikel Oyarzabal proved to be Spain's hero, scoring late to secure La Roja's fourth European Championship crown having seen Cole Palmer cancel out Nico Williams' opener.

    The Manchester City midfielder also helped Pep Guardiola's side achieve a record fourth consecutive Premier League title ahead of the tournament in Germany. 

    His performances on the pitch have him among the favourites to win the prestigious award alongside Real Madrid duo Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham. 

    However, no Spaniard has won the Ballon d'Or since Barcelona's Luis Suarez in 1960, despite the award being dominated by La Liga players in recent years. 

    Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema have won the trophy 14 times between them during their time in Spain, while Messi claimed his eighth last year at Inter Miami for his performances at the 2022 World Cup with Argentina. 

    "Spanish football deserves a Ballon d'Or winner," Rodri said. "I'm going to be honest, I would like for a Spaniard to win it, I don't care who. It would be great."

    Asked about his chances of winning the award, Rodri said, "I've heard that (Champions League winners Real Madrid's) Dani Carvajal also deserves it.

    "From an individual standpoint, I'm very proud of what I am doing and the recognition I'm getting. But someone else has to make that assessment."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.