Pine shoots for the Stags
Southland’s most successful club coach during the past decade has applied for the vacant Stags job.
Damien Pine confirmed on Wednesday that he is keen on a shot at coaching the Southland team and has already put his CV into the mix.
The position became vacant when Hoani Macdonald stood down from the role following a review into the 2017 season.
Southland-based coaches Peter Skelt and Craig Pullar have already indicated they will apply for the role.
Pine is the latest Southlandbased coach to put his hand up and say he is ready for an opportunity.
Pine coached Woodlands for 10 seasons which included eight finals appearances and five Galbraith Shield titles.
He has moved through coaching ranks.
That includes coaching the John McGlashan first XV in Dunedin, and Te Anau and Woodlands in club rugby in Southland.
Pine has also spent time in representative positions with Southland rugby, including both the Southland Metro and Southland sevens teams.
It is the third time Pine has applied for the role.
He hopes it will be third time lucky.
The Invercargill lawyer feels he has the organisational expertise to lead a strong campaign.
With the right technical expertise around him, in terms of assistant coaches, he believes he could form a good coaching setup.
Jason Kawau, who has been the assistant coach with the Stags for the past two seasons, remains contracted to Rugby Southland.
He would be part of providing that technical knowledge.
The Stags job was officially advertised last week and applications close on November 27.
There are plenty of provincial opportunities open for coaches at the moment.
While the Taranaki job has been filled with Willie Rickards appointed, Southland, Otago, the Auckland, and Hawke’s Bay have all been looking for new coaches as well.
Meanwhile, Pine has taken over the Southland sevens team this year as they prepare for their campaign this summer.
Pine has previously coached the team before Bryan Milne took over.
However, Milne has since moved to Christchurch which has prompted Pine to step back in.
The Southland sevens programme has struggled in recent years and Pine concedes they will have a limited buildup this year leading into the national qualifying tournament in Timaru on December 9.
He said while many provinces were very focused on sevens success in terms of results, Southland would this year use it as a development tool for their 15s programme.
The squad started training on Monday and it includes a host of academy players as they use sevens to help improve their conditioning and skills.
Pine said many other provinces were already playing build up tournaments but Southland’s first outing would be at the national qualifier in Timaru.
Southland is not registered to play in a tournament involving southern provinces in Oamaru on November 25.
Because of Southland’s location, Pine said it was hard to find other warm up tournaments they could easily attend for preparation.
Instead, they will play games internally and have taken the positive outlook around their buildup, in regard to other teams not getting a look at them in action before qualifying.
Damien Pine is the latest Southland-based coach to put his name in the mix for the vacant Stags position.