South African Dave Wessels has been appointed as new head coach of the Western Force for the next two seasons.
Wessels served as assistant to former coach Michael Foley, who was fired in June following the side's poor Super Rugby campaign. Captain Matt Hodgson is reportedly close to re-signing for the Force.
Wessels (33) is now the youngest coach in Super Rugby but has been with the Force for the last four years so he knows the team and culture well. The promotion of Wessels to senior head coach was made easier in some ways as he maintains the support of the players and are acutely aware of the challenges the Perth-based franchise is facing.
Wessels said despite his young age, he was ready for a senior coaching role.
“In this job, it’s the opposite of the Benjamin Button effect,” Wessels told AAP.
“So you age a lot quicker than normal. So by the end of next week, I’ll be in my mid-50s, and no one will bring it up again. I’ve lived the breathed the unique challenges the Force faces.
“I’ve been part of trying to overcome those challenges in the last couple of years, and I have some ideas of how we may do that going forward.”
Wessels will be charged with helping transform a squad that has already lost key players Kyle Godwin, Alby Mathewson, Nathan Charles, Steve Mafi, and Chris Alcock.
Wessels started his professional coaching career in 2008 when he became a defence consultant at the Stormers. He also spent time at the University of Cape Town and the Brumbies, before linking up with the Force in 2013.