Fresh off last weekend’s historic win over England at Twickenham, Fiji’s Assistant Coach, Brad Harris, is now a Melbourne Rebel.
The Rebels can confirm the highly sought-after experienced and successful coach will become the Rebels new Defensive Coach, as the Club continues to strengthen its coaching and playing stocks ahead of the fast approaching 2024 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season.
Harris has penned a multi-year deal and will remain a Melbourne Rebel until at least the end of the 2025 season.
Boasting a distinguished coaching resume, Harris holds extensive top level experience across three different countries, achieving sustained success both domestically and on the international stage.
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 5 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 2-year stint ultimately culminate in a historic berth in the Super Rugby Pacific finals in 2023 for the Fijian Drua.
Currently an Assistant Coach for the Flying Fijian’s Rugby World Cup team, Harris was instrumental in his side’s historic win over England at Twickenham Stadium last weekend.
Melbourne Rebels CEO, Baden Stephenson, was thrilled by Harris’ appointment.
“The Chairman, Board, Nick Stiles, our coaching staff and myself are all delighted to welcome Brad Harris to the Melbourne Rebels at such an exciting time for our Club,” said Stephenson.
“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.
“The Melbourne Rebels are thrilled and delighted to repatriate a highly skilled and successful Australian Rugby coach back home to Australia.
“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.
“With a Club record of 19 players selected across our 3 Australian men’s representative teams, world class player signings, and now Brad Harris’ signature, the future's looking bright in Melbourne. We can’t wait for the 2024 season to start.”
Brad Harris said he was grateful for the opportunity to return back to Australian Rugby and join a Club whose vision and values strongly aligned with his own.
“Throughout my discussions with the Rebels, I couldn’t have been more impressed by firstly the quality of people involved and secondly the aligned vision for the Melbourne Rebels,” said Harris.
“This is a team that I have watched closely over the past few seasons. I’ve seen first hand from an opposition perspective, the growth and development of the team.
"They were very unlucky last year, but next season, with the addition of some world class players to the roster and the invaluable experiences the returning Wallabies will bring to the program, I believe the Club will be in a great position to challenge for finals and higher honours.
“I will be looking to build on that fantastic foundation already in place with the players and team. I am excited to connect with all stakeholders across the club and bring my passion and energy to help drive the club forward towards the forefront of Super Rugby Pacific.
“Melbourne is also a city that I have loved visiting over the past number of seasons and I can’t wait to immerse myself and my family into the culture, lifestyle and community on offer.”
Fijian Drua CEO, Mark Evans, expressed his gratitude for all of Brad’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.”