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The Roar


Kiss of death for Thorn's assistants with Wallabies walkout Brad Davis joining Reds revolution

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1st September, 2023
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Brad Davis, who sensationally quit the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign hours before the team left for France, has been confirmed as part of Les Kiss’ Queensland Reds’ radically revamped coaching staff.

News of Davis’ departure as Wallabies attack coach was broken by The Roar in a story that included a Reds reunion with Kiss as his likely destination.

Davis dropped his bombshell on Eddie Jones before the Wallabies’ coach’s infamous Sydney airport press conference.

Asked why Davis quit, Jones responded: “Family reasons, mate. There’s an opportunity for us. And I think we’ll improve our coaching staff.

“We had a discussion a couple of nights ago.

“There’s a potential candidate ready to step up now. As I said, I think we’ll improve the coaching staff.”

He was asked to confirm it was Davis’ decision to stand aside. “Yeah, we had a discussion, yeah,” Jones responded.


Davis was replaced by Jason Ryles for the World Cup.

Attack Coach Brad Davis during the Australian Wallabies training session at Sanctuary Cove on June 29, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Attack Coach Brad Davis during the Australian Wallabies training session at Sanctuary Cove on June 29, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Kiss and Davis coached together at London Irish, as did another new Reds assistant Jonathan Fisher. They are joined by Tonga assistant coach Zane Hilton and Reds Academy head coach Dale Roberson at Ballymore.

All four assistants have signed through 2026.

It means departures for Brad Thorn’s assistants – Jim McKay, Phil Blake, Mick Heenan and Kane Hames.

“We’re pleased to welcome Brad, Zane and Jonathan to the club,” said Kiss in a statement.

“It’s an integrated coaching group. All four bring great experience in their roles and while each has a technical lead, they will also work across different disciplines which will accelerate the process.


“Brad is a coach I’ve had the pleasure working alongside at London Irish. He delivered great results for our team and I’m sure he’ll do the same at Ballymore.

“With his coaching experience, Zane has great knowledge of all levels of the game in Queensland including both club and Super Rugby. It’s great to see him return to his home state armed with the lessons he’s learnt over the years.

“Jonathan is one of the best coaching talents in English Rugby and I’ve enjoyed working alongside him over the last four years. It’s exciting to have him on board at the Reds.

“I’m also looking forward to working closely with our Reds Academy head coach Dale Roberson. We’ve increased his scope and working alongside Paul Carozza, Dale’s expertise in the Academy will drive the connection and align the principles of the ‘Reds Way’ between the Academy and our senior Reds program.

Les Kiss

Les Kiss (Photo by Brendan Hertel, QRU)

“I’d like to acknowledge Jim McKay, Phil Blake, Mick Heenan and Kane Hames for their service to Queensland Rugby. All have left the Reds in a better place and will leave a lasting impact on our squad into the future.”

Like former State of Origin star Kiss, Davis also played top level rugby league.


He starting coaching with Bath Rugby in 2006 and stayed there 10 years serving a number of roles including defence coach, specialist skills coach and as head of kicking strategy and attack.

Stints with Wasps and Ospreys in assistant coach roles followed, before Davis linked with Kiss at London Irish in 2019. Kiss and Davis led the club to fifth place in their most recent season, the Exiles’ highest finish since 2008. They were expected to return before financial issues struck the club.

Hilton began his coaching career as a Queensland Rugby Union Development Officer, before serving as Regional College Manager for the QRU where he identified and developed the next generation of Queensland Rugby talent.

He coached Brothers to a Hospital Cup title in his first year in charge in 2009 after stints as a skills coach with Italian side Benneton and as an assistant coach with the University of Queensland.

The 42-year-old is assisting Toutai Kefu with Tonga at the Rugby World Cup.


Another former London Irish employee, Fisher joins the Reds staff after an accomplished playing career in the English Premiership.

After representing the England U20s team, the backrower played more than 100 games at London Irish, Bedford, Northampton and Bristol between 2007 and 2017, before transitioning into the coaching world.

Fisher took on a role with the renowned London Irish Academy working with the forwards, before moving to the Premiership side to serve as an assistant alongside Kiss.

Roberson’s current role as Reds Academy head coach has been enhanced under the new title of Reds Development coach.

Meanwhile, AAP reports, that fresh off last weekend’s historic win over England at Twickenham, Fiji’s assistant coach Brad Harris has signed to join the Melbourne Rebels.

Harris will link with the Super Rugby Pacific side as defence guru next season, working under head coach Kevin Foote.

Harris has penned a multi-year deal and will remain with Melbourne Rebels until at least the end of the 2025 season.


Starting his coaching career in Canberra, Harris has spent time with the Georgian national side and the last five years in various roles with Fiji.

He was part of the coaching set-up for the men’s Sevens team who won gold at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics before moving to the Fijian Drua.

Harris is currently part of Fiji’s World Cup campaign in France, where they will face the Wallabies in a pool game.

Fiji claimed their first-ever win over England in a World Cup warm-up clash last weekend.

The Australians will also face Georgia in their opening clash in Paris.