Wallabies are trying to pull off another Stephen Larkham here. When they want to use the brains from one of the best Super Rugby clubs. Especially at the Top 2 in Australia alone. Just like the Crusaders as a sidestick to the All Blacks. As Kirstie Stanway said to me on YouTube last year.
It did pay off the first time that helped Michael Cheika in 2015. Not only the Wallabies won the shortened Rugby Championship. But also the Rugby World Cup Final during the same year. Then they were downhill ever since. And these poor results along the way was the last of him.
Even though Stephen had to sacrifice his Brumbies role. When he left after the 2017 Super Rugby season. Brumbies came home 4th overall. 1st in the Australian conference. But barely gone past the Final 8 v Hurricanes. He did finish worse than 6th. And made the semis during his first two seasons as Head Coach. All of them throughout his four year tenure in 2014-17.
Now when Dan took over since 2018 it might have taken time. Where the Brumbies finished 10th during his first season. Bounced back in Year 2 during 2019 in 3rd that extended through to the semi-final. And gone one better with the Super Rugby AU title last year. Even though the usual competition was shuffled around due to COVID. But a first title win for any kind is an achievement.
There are a few weaknesses to address under his skin. Such as the key injury/suspension hit lists. Which exposed their ill-discipline and defense. One was Allan Alaalatoa for a red card during Week 3 v Melbourne Rebels. He has served his three-game ban. And should he back by Saturday v Reds. But at the same time they saw Tom Cusack given both yellows.
That was last week away v Waratahs with a couple of weeks out of action. Jahrome Brown is also in there. But it was through an injury. It will be interesting to see if the Brumbies can stay on track. Especially with Will Miller around for the rest of the Super Rugby AU season. In the hope of answering their loose forward crisis. It does not affect their usual attacking setup too much. Where it remained intact as their main weapon over the last 5-6 years.
The next question is how long Dan will stay at the Brumbies? Before things can go wrong like the Reds did since Ewen McKenzie left in 2013. And later recovered under Brad Thorn. As well as the Waratahs after Michael Cheika who followed suit two years later. Both of them coincidentally went on to become Wallaby coaches. If Dan does replace Dave Rennie in the green and gold top job. It would most likely after the 2023 World Cup.
What would the Brumbies do in order to prepare for life after him? The answer is to get someone who knows this club inside out. Whether it will be another Brumbies legend. Or else a coach who is the best of club rugby in this state. He has to carry the legacy of what Dan McKellar did over the last four years. And it will be up to the board to look after their their top players.
Before they can look forward to more consistent seasons. No matter who will be at the helm in five to ten years. While Dan will not be unnoticed for the Wallaby top job. As long as the Brumbies are still doing well. Not just in Super Rugby AU. But also against the New Zealand teams. When the Trans-Tasman leg starts in mid May.
Once he eventually becomes head coach of the Wallabies. It will be his chance to get the best Super Rugby players in this country. At least 23 of them in any of the important tests. And use this Brumbies mantra to help Australia beat the All Blacks regularly. For now he is best suited for the Brumbies for another 1-2 years.