South African Wessels takes coaching job at Melbourne Rebels

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George Bridge gets tackled, during Rebels v Crusaders, Round 14 of the 2017 Super Rugby season, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia.

George Bridge gets tackled, during Rebels v Crusaders, Round 14 of the 2017 Super Rugby season, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia. (Photo: Brendon Ratnayake / www.photosport.nz)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — South African Dave Wessels says he's accepted the head coaching job at Super Rugby's Melbourne Rebels, switching from the now-disbanded Western Force in Perth.

The Rebels, who finished last in the Australian conference this year with just one win, signed Wessels for two seasons in the deal announced Friday.

Local and overseas media said Wessels had declined an offer from Irish side Munster in Europe's Pro14 competition.

Wessels said: "I was obviously very flattered that there was some interest from other places ... I feel a huge amount of loyalty to Australian rugby and I'm just very grateful that Melbourne offered me this opportunity."

The Force was cut by the Australian Rugby Union when Super Rugby was reduced from 18 to 15 teams for next season.

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