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Leicester head coach McKellar leaves by mutual consent

Dan McKellar before Leicester's Premiership game at Northampton in April 2024
Dan McKellar won half of his 18 Premiership games in charge of Leicester Tigers [Getty Images]

Head coach Dan McKellar has left Leicester Tigers by mutual consent after only one season in charge of the Premiership club.

The 47-year-old former ACT Brumbies boss stepped down as Australia forwards coach to take the role, joining on a "long-term deal" as the permanent replacement for Steve Borthwick following his appointment as England coach.

However, the Tigers endured a disappointing season, finishing eighth in the Premiership, 11 points off a play-off spot.

They were also beaten by Leinster in the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup and lost the Premiership Cup final to Gloucester.

BBC Sport understands that former Australia and Argentina head coach Michael Cheika is among the contenders to replace McKellar.

In a statement, Leicester said McKellar's departure had been agreed "following extensive discussions regarding the club's future direction".

The club added that they had begun their search for a new head coach, with pre-season for players not on international duty set to start on 1 July.

Speaking in May, McKellar told BBC Radio Leicester that he would "adapt and learn" after admitting that he was "really disappointed" by Leicester's campaign.

"I knew coming here that it is a very different competition to Super Rugby, so we had to train and I had to make sure my approach was what was required for this group and this competition," he said.

"But we haven't got that right - we have fallen away at the back end of games when we should be storming home."

After winning eight of 11 games before the break for Six Nations, Tigers fell away once the season resumed, losing six of their last eight matches in all competitions.

'McKellar appeared to have backing' - analysis

BBC Radio Leicester's Leicester Tigers reporter Adam Whitty

This is news that will stun Leicester supporters, because of the timing, as much as anything.

Leicester did have a poor season, of that there is no doubt. The club's hierarchy does not look fondly on an eighth-placed finish, and Dan McKellar struggled to implement his more open, expansive style on the team.

However, McKellar appeared to have the backing of the club, and had some reasonable excuses for their lowly finish - namely the fact they didn't have an attack coach last year, and had replaced their head of strength and conditioning this summer.

McKellar had moved his family across the world for this role, and was incredibly passionate about the position.

Leicester have now had seven head coaches in as many years, and pressure may build on those at the top about what has appeared to be a failed recruitment, at great expense.