Kite a Straw­bridge fan

Te Awamutu Courier - - Sport -

Pres­i­dent of O¯ haupo¯ RFC David Kite has fond mem­o­ries of Waikato rugby leg­end An­drew Straw­bridge play­ing for his club.

“It was in 1995 and we won the Waikato Mooloo Shield, beat­ing Te Awa­mutu Marist 22-3 in the fi­nal at Waikato Sta­dium,” re­calls Kite.

“An­drew proved a great as­set for us both on and off the field that year.

“He was cer­tainly an in­spi­ra­tional fig­ure, es­pe­cially to the younger play­ers in our se­nior team.”

The tri­umphant Ohaupo¯ ¯ team of 1995 was cap­tained by for­mer All Black Graham Purvis.

Kite said he was pleased to see Straw­bridge ap­pointed as the new head coach of Waikato for the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup.

“An­drew brings a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and coach­ing knowl­edge to the po­si­tion,” said Waikato CEO Blair Foote.

“An­drew is another for­mer player turned coach that un­der­stands the pride and the pas­sion in the prov­ince and the jersey. We are priv­i­leged to have a coach of his cal­i­bre join­ing our coach­ing staff.

“We look for­ward to see­ing him put his unique stamp on the squad in 2019 and beyond.”

The 54-year-old Straw­bridge is cur­rently one of the Chiefs’ as­sis­tant coaches af­ter join­ing the team in 2012.

He was brought in by head coach Dave Ren­nie, and was a part of the coach­ing team that led the Chiefs to back to back Su­per Rugby ti­tles in 2012 and 2013.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing his play­ing ca­reer with Waikato at the end of 1995, Straw­bridge went into sec­ondary school teach­ing for 20 years in var­i­ous roles in­clud­ing as­sis­tant teacher, head of depart­ment, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal and deputy prin­ci­pal.

Af­ter his teach­ing ca­reer, Straw­bridge then moved into his coach­ing ca­reer.

In his coach­ing roles he looked af­ter Hamil­ton Boys’ High School 1st XV, Hamil­ton Old Boys’ in the Waikato club rugby com­pe­ti­tion and nu­mer­ous overseas coach­ing roles.

At na­tional Pro­vin­cial level, he over­saw North Harbour for two sea­sons (2003-04) and Auck­land for three sea­sons (2009-11).

Straw­bridge was also a part of the New Zealand Un­der 20s cam­paign where they won two world ti­tles.

“Hav­ing played for the (Waikato) prov­ince, it is a huge hon­our for me to have this op­por­tu­nity to coach a team I have strong ties too,” said Straw­bridge.

“The key to the 2019 sea­son is to main­tain and to con­tinue to build on the suc­cess that the team achieved in 2018 un­der coach Jono Gibbes.”

Straw­bridge was cap num­ber 784 for Waikato, amass­ing a to­tal of 131 games be­tween 1983 and 1995 scor­ing a to­tal of 646 points through 53 tries, 83 con­ver­sions, 78 penal­ties and five drop goals.

Photo / Sup­plied

An­drew Straw­bridge pic­tured in his prime play­ing for Waikato.

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