Brumbies coach Dan McKellar will leave his post at the end of the 2022 Super Rugby season in what shapes as a major step towards him becoming the next Wallabies coach.
McKellar initially joined the Brumbies in 2014, having grown his reputation in the ACT rugby community with the Tuggeranong Vikings.
The 45-year-old took the reins as head coach in 2018, leading the Brumbies to the Super Rugby semi-final in 2019, and back-to-back Super Rugby AU grand finals in the past two seasons.
The Brumbies won the title in 2020, but fell to the Reds 19-16 in the 2021 decider.
McKellar recently took on the role as Wallabies forwards coach, and is currently with the national squad ahead of the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series.
His role at the Wallabies will become full-time once he leaves the Brumbies next year.
Current Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has gone on record in the past to say he views McKellar as his potential successor down the track.
McKellar is well aware of how succession plans in any sport can end up backfiring, but it's clear he desires the Wallabies role in the future.
"I'm not big on those sort of succession plans or those sort of conversations. Those sorts of things can go pear shape really quickly," McKellar said.
"What will be will be. I'm just really grateful to be here and coach professionally, full stop.
"If one day I get the chance to be head coach of the Wallabies, then that would be something to be incredibly proud of. But I'm in no rush."
McKellar said it was a tough decision to map out an exit plan at the Brumbies, but knows it's the right call.
"The timing was right for me and my family," he said.
"I've got two young girls and a wife who have been incredibly supportive, and it's probably time for them to go home back to Queensland and time for me to challenge myself and coach at the highest level with the Wallabies.
"It's tough because of the love you have for the place and the people involved.
"I've got a lot of great memories there, and hope we can add a few more next year."
Once the Brumbies decide on who will take over at the end of next season, McKellar said he was open to helping the new coach with the transition.
"If there's a chance to grab a couple of coffees and spend a couple of days together and make sure that there's a smooth handover, then that's always beneficial to the next head coach," McKellar said.
Australian Associated Press