Hayden Triggs becomes coach
Former New Zealand Ma¯ ori lock Hayden Triggs will launch his coaching career with College Old Boys in Manawatu¯ club rugby next year.
The 35-year-old and Manawatu¯ Development XV coach Ben James have been confirmed as co-coaches for the Palmerston North club.
Triggs pulled the pin on his playing days earlier this year ending his nomadic career after 15 years at the top level. He made his provincial debut for Manawatu¯ while based at the Linton Army Camp in 2002, playing 71 games.
Triggs made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in 2007 before signing with the Highlanders in 2008. In 2009 he moved to Otago, playing 26 games before spending a season with the Chiefs in 2011 then going to Japan.
In 2014 he was called into the Blues and opted to return to New Zealand fulltime by signing with North Harbour, playing 20 games in two years.
He played the final of his 65 Super Rugby games in 2015 before moving to Ireland to play for Leinster. He retired in May 2017.
But Triggs has not waited long to get back involved in rugby, picking up the job with COB.
The club, which has not missed the semifinals since 2008, was searching for a coach to take over for John ‘Snow’ Cruden, who served as an interim coach when they let go of Sonny Waqatairewa mid-way through the season.
Triggs’ co-coach James, who played with Triggs in club rugby in the 2000s, took over as Linton Army coach in 2016, but spent most of 2017 deployed overseas.
James said his decision to switch allegiance was a combination of him looking to grow his coaching career and a chance to work along side his mate.
‘‘It was all about personal development and just trying to put myself out of my comfort zone,’’ he said. ‘‘When you coach people you work with, it is a little bit easier
than coaching people who are new and dealing with people you have never met.’’
He said he learnt a lot in his first season as head coach of the Development XV and has aspirations to go beyond that level.
‘‘Eventually the goal would be a Turbos position. But I am under no illusion, that could be a while away.’’
Coaching perennial title contenders COB should give James a smoother ride than Linton, considering he will have the same group of players available week to week. At Linton he went through more than 60 players in a season due to the soldiers’ availability.
James said he made it clear to COB he would not use his Linton links to recruit players from his former side.
And he will not be adding himself to the playing pool either, but was keeping his fingers crossed that Triggs would change his mind and play part of the season.
‘‘Hopefully you will be seeing [Triggs] pulling on his boots, but you won’t be seeing me. He is pretty adamant he is not going to put the boots on, but we will see.’’
The club coaching panel is starting to take shape with seven of nine clubs confirming the men to lead them in 2018.
After contemplating stepping aside, Reece Robinson has opted to return to Old Boys-marist in a bid to defend the Hankins Shield, his third season as head coach.
Bertus Mulder is back with Kia Toa. In his first season as head coach, he took the team to the Hankins Shield final in 2017.
Scott Lewis returns with Varsity, and will be assisted by Daz Horsley.
Lewis took over from Koli Sewabu last season and led the side to the Jubilee Cup and Centennial Shield titles, before being upset by Kia Toa in the semifinals.
Also returning is Glen Gregory with Feilding Old Boys-o¯ roua after a 2017 season that fell just shy of the semifinals and ended in the Val Holland trophy. He will have Paula Maisiri and Murray Stewart back as assistants.
Kelvin Tantrum is staying with Feilding Yellows after taking over from Sean Bristow mid-season.
Michael Lalogafau and Glen Christini will continue with Freyberg for a third season.
Te Kawau have yet to confirm their coach, but it won’t be Alistair Mitchell. Mitchell is travelling overseas during part of the season so decided it would be better for someone else who could commit for the full season to take charge.
Linton Army were led by James, Ross Rainham and Dwayne Eriksson for the last two years, but Rainham decided at the end of the club season he would not return.
Club captain Lyall Mooney said they were in the process of selecting their coach for next year, but confirmed Eriksson would be back in some capacity.
Hayden Triggs will start his coaching career in club rugby with College Old Boys.
Ben James is switching from Linton Army to be a co-coach at COB.