The IRANZ High Performance coaching course held at the Rugby institute in New Zealand was the most valuable experience I’ve had as a coach so far. Held in the small town of Palmerston North on the North Island, at Massey University, the institute provided a full schedule of workshops, presentations and coaching by a plethora of experienced and distinguished coaches.
Unlike any other coaching course, it is the open minded and sharing approach of the New Zealand coaching community that inspires like nothing else. Their genuine love for fresh ideas and their hunger to learn is matched by their own meticulous attention to detail. The modules covered were high in detail and open to conversation. Not only were we participants in these, but were challenged throughout, having to prepare our own presentations and coaching practicals amongst all our learning.
The course was littered with All Blacks; not just ex-players but also ex-players who have subsequently become good coaches. Filo Tiatia, Rodney So’ala, Greg Somerville, Chris Jack, Jon Preston and Eroni Clarke, to name a few. However, the highlight of the course came in the sessions we had with current All Black Scrum and Restarts coach, Mike Cron. The 70 year old coach exuded wisdom and was constantly exploring new ideas, making him one of the most creative coaches I have met.
The course schedule was very tight and saw our days spanning from 8am to 9.30pm every day. There was a great deal of information to process, but the experience was grand. We were afforded the opportunity to have the first weekend off. We stayed on a boat in Wellington, sailing to multiple fishing sites around the area. The chance to dive for some Perlemoen was a highlight and provided a very delicious brunch!
The course also allowed the coaches to work with a group of young players attending the course; coincidently, this included ex-DHS 1st XV rugby player, Gareth Simpson, who acquitted himself in the perfect manner, being awarded with the MVP of their 3-week course.
I have undoubtedly been challenged by the course and cannot wait to process the information and start implementing some of the many ideas I have learnt. I cannot thank The DHS Foundation and Head Master, Mr Pinhiero, enough for giving me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge further in the game of rugby. I have no doubt it will be greatly beneficial for DHS in the coming years!
Head of Rugby
1st XV Rugby Coach