The Melbourne Rebels are thrilled to announce the key re-signings of Head Coach Kevin Foote, Attack Coach Tim Sampson and Forward Coach Geoff Parling.
The trio have all re-committed to the Club on new multi-year deals, signing on until at least the end of the 2025 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season.
In what is the first season under Foote, Parling and Sampson’s watch, the Rebels have shown significant growth on-field, playing a fast, fearless and resolute brand of rugby.
The trio have led the Rebels to memorable wins over rivals the Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs, while also sitting sixth for total points scored across the Super Rugby Pacific competition.
An accomplished and highly respected leader, Foote first arrived in Melbourne as the Rebels Defence Coach back in 2018, before taking over as interim-Head Coach during the Club’s 2021 Trans-Tasman campaign.
Strong performances on the road saw Foote officially unveiled as the Club’s Head Coach just two-months later following an extensive review process.
Melbourne Rebels CEO, Baden Stephenson, said he was delighted to retain the trio, highlighting the connection Foote, Parling and Sampson have built amongst the playing group.
“The Chairman, Board, and I, are so excited that Kevin, Tim, and Geoff, have extended their time with the Club,” Stephenson said.
“Kevin is building a culture of Ubuntu, a connection that inspires our playing group to support one another on and off the field. That is reflected on the field by a team that is playing a fast, fearless, and resolute style of football that is bringing the fans back to AAMI Park.
“With a host of exciting young players coming through our ranks, Taniela Tupou joining next season, and the commitment of these coaches, the future is looking bright.”
Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Kevin Foote, said he was grateful for the support and the opportunity to continue leading such an ambitious Club.
“I’m really grateful to the Board, our Club and our members and fans who have backed me, our staff and our players, as we ride this journey all together,” said Foote.
“I love this job for the opportunity to be involved with the game I love, but also having the opportunity to do challenging things with people I greatly admire.
“I want to do hard things in life, but I want to do them with the people I love – that gives me fulfilment and enriches my life. I’m incredibly grateful for this support and excited for the future ahead.”
With an emerging playing group hungry for Super Rugby success and a British and Irish Lions home fixture in 2025, it shapes as an exciting next chapter for Melbourne rugby fans - something of which is driving Foote.
“We’re aspirational to go well in Super Rugby and to keep growing both in our culture and our game model – things we can control.
“I’ve been so proud of how we’re developing on the field and shifting our game. It’s Super Rugby in its purest form – exciting, attacking rugby.
“Our improvement from last season to now is significant – we're putting good points on the board. We’re not perfect towards the whole game model just yet, but it’s coming with great buy-in from the players and staff.
“As we go forward into 2025, to also have the opportunity to coach against the British and Irish Lions and host them here in Melbourne, and to play a brand of rugby that sets us up for success against them, that opportunity is inspiring for me.”
After joining the Rebels in August, Tim Sampson has made an immediate impact on his new rugby home, with his knowledge and experience helping fast-track the development of a number of the Club’s backline players both on and off the field.
The forty-six-year-old credited the Club’s alignment as one of the driving forces behind his re-commitment.
“The Club’s in a really healthy position and what’s important about that is the environment that we’re in and that we’ve created,” said Sampson.
“It’s so positive and there’s great alignment from the Chairman, through to the CEO and the Board, and to Footey and Stilesy. The strong alignment throughout the Club paints a clear picture for everyone.
“It’s important to work around quality people and from day one it’s been great and has brought me enjoyment. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing that leads to success along the way and that’s why I’m so excited to be staying on at the Rebels.
“There’s so much more room for growth within all of us. If we keep trending in the direction we are, there’s going to be some great highlights at AAMI Park over the next few years.”
Having begun his Rebels’ career as a player back in 2018, Geoff Parling has now led the Club’s forwards for the past five seasons, with his work in developing homegrown second row stars in Trevor Hosea, Josh Canham and Daniel Maiava, leading to national coaching honours with the Wallabies in 2020 and Australia A’s Pacific Nations Cup campaign last year.
The former England International and British and Irish Lions representative said he was excited for the future ahead, growing the next generation, experiencing Super Rugby success and being a part of some of the most exciting moments on the World Rugby calendar.
“I work with some great people that are working extremely hard to bring success to the Rebels and Victorian Rugby,” said Parling.
“My family love where we now call home and I see some great young talent coming through in Victoria that I’m excited about helping develop and push to make the most of their careers.
“Whilst we know we still have growing to do, we’re determined to put our print in this great sporting city, especially with everything to come in the next few years.
“A Lions tour in 2025 and home World Cup in 2027 make it an exciting time to be here. The Lions was a special experience and one of my fondest memories in rugby. The tradition and midweek games have moments that are lost a bit in the modern game but give memories that last forever.”