Melbourne Rebels sign Fiji assistant coach

Melbourne Rebels sign Fiji assistant coach

Flying Fijians assistant coach Brad Harris has penned a multi-year deal as a defensive coach with the Melbourne Rebels until at least the end of the 2025 season. 

Melbourne Rebels in a statement confirmed the Club continues to strengthen its coaching and playing stocks ahead of the fast-approaching 2024 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season. 

The 49-year-old's appointment follows a very thorough process conducted in conjunction with Rugby Australia National High Performance Coach Development Manager, Matt Wilkie. 

After beginning his senior coaching career with the Tuggeranong Vikings in 2012, Harris took the Club to back-to-back Premierships in 2013 and 2014, before leading the Canberra Vikings to the NRC Grand Final in 2015. 

Harris got his first taste of international action as Co-Coach of the Australian Barbarians during their successful tour of New Zealand later that year, before joining Georgia Rugby Union as the National Team's Assistant Coach, where his attention to detail and effective player development strategies helped propel Georgia to become Rugby Europe Champions in 2017.  

In 2018, Harris journeyed to Fiji, spending the last five years on the tropical island nation where success followed every program that he has been involved with. 

In his first season with the Fijian Drua, Harris guided the team to a historic NRC Championship on home soil. 

In 2020, Harris changed roles, joining the Fijian Men's 7's team, becoming a crucial member of their 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold-medal winning squad as the Assistant Coach. 

With the addition of the Fijian Drua to the newly created Super Rugby Pacific Competition in 2022, Harris took the role as the team's Defence Coach, which saw his two-year stint ultimately culminate in a historic berth in the Super Rugby Pacific finals in 2023 for the Fijian Drua. 

Harris was instrumental in Fiji's historic 30-22 win over England at Twickenham Stadium last weekend. 

Melbourne Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson was thrilled by Harris' appointment and is delighted to repatriate a highly skilled and successful Australian Rugby coach back home to Australia. 

"Brad comes to Melbourne carrying a wealth of overseas coaching experience where he's 

achieved great success including winning the NRC with the Drua in 2018, claiming Olympic Gold with the Fijian Sevens in 2021 and impressive campaigns with the Fijian Drua and Georgia Rugby Union." 

"Brad's proven success in developing tough defensive strategies and his ability to cultivate a strong culture of discipline, resilience and hard work aligns perfectly with the environment we're creating at the Melbourne Rebels and our game model of playing fast, fearless and resolute." 

Harris said he was grateful for the opportunity to return to Australian Rugby and join a Club whose vision and values strongly aligned with his own. 

Fijian Drua chief executive Mark Evans expressed his gratitude for all of Harris's hard work and success in his time with Fijian Rugby. 

"Brad has done an outstanding job at the Drua and previously Fiji Rugby. We are sad to see him go, but completely understand the reasons behind his move. He will always be welcome back on the island and I know many of the players will miss his friendship and coaching skills." 

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