Coach John McKee has returned Down Under after a successful six-year stint in Europe to link up with the New South Wales Central Coast franchise in the inaugural Australian Rugby Championship.
After coaching in Australia during the late 1990s, McKee had spells in France (2000-2002), Ireland (2002-2005) and England (2005-2006).
He guided AS Montferrand to the ‘Coupe de Ligue’ in 2000/2001 in France, before becoming assistant coach of Connacht and leading the Irish side to two European Challenge Cup semi-finals.
After leaving Ireland and moving to England, he took the Cornish Pirates to third position in the national division one competition, while at the same time holding down the job as technical advisor for the South West England rugby academy.
NSW rugby union general manager Dave Gibson is excited at the signing of McKee and believes he will bring the new franchise a wealth of experience.
"The range of John’s coaching experience is impressive," said Gibson.
"From guiding Eastwood to its first title in 1999 to successful coaching appointments in France, Ireland and England, John’s CV is full to overflowing."
With the new franchise set to name its nickname within the next two weeks, McKee is already looking forward to his role at his new club.
"I always intended to return to Australia and this competition has opened the door for me to come back and coach," McKee said.
"I’m looking forward to making this team a serious contender in the ARC and developing a realistic pathway for players from this region to the Waratahs, Super 14 and beyond."
McKee, who has signed a two-year contract with the franchise, has already set some goals for the club, and wants to make an immediate impact.
"One of my aims is to work with all stakeholders to develop a strong regional identity and supporter base for the team.
"We have some great clubs behind the franchise and I believe this will strengthen our game by bridging the gap between club and Super 14 Rugby."