‘BRAD WILL FIT IN JUST FINE’

Llanelli Star - - RUGBY - MATTHEW SOUTHCOMBE Rugby cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]­line.co.uk

NEW Scar­lets head coach Brad Mooar has touched down in Wales as a new era be­gins for the re­gion. Mooar takes over from Wayne Pi­vac, who is now on the Welsh Rugby Union’s pay­roll as he pre­pares to take charge of Wales when War­ren Gat­land de­parts af­ter the Rugby World Cup.

Scar­lets play­ers have been pre­par­ing for next sea­son for a num­ber of weeks now, with for­wards coach Ioan Cun­ning­ham, the sole sur­vivor from the Wayne Pi­vac regime, and Dai Flana­gan, who has been pro­moted to at­tack coach, over­see­ing what have largely been conditioni­ng ses­sions.

Mooar has al­ready had some im­pact at the re­gion, though, par­tic­u­larly when it came to sign­ing play­ers and re­new­ing con­tracts.

Per­haps his most high-pro­file de­ci­sion to date was not re­new­ing Will Boyde’s con­tract, a de­ci­sion that ul­ti­mately led to him join­ing the Cardiff Blues as a free agent ear­lier this sum­mer.

Mooar ar­rives in Llanelli with plenty of pedi­gree, hav­ing been a key cog in the Cru­saders’ ma­chine in the last four years, work­ing as Scott Robert­son’s as­sis­tant as the Su­per Rugby fran­chise won three con­sec­u­tive ti­tles.

He touches down on these shores on the back of a suc­cess­ful four years in Christchur­ch, but what can Scar­lets fans ex­pect?

“He’s (Mooar) very de­tailed. He looked af­ter all of our strat­egy, our at­tack­ing sys­tems and struc­tures,” Cru­saders head of per­for­mance anal­y­sis Jonathan Gard­ner, who worked closely with Mooar for four years, told Wales On­line.

“He started the same time as me so we went through that jour­ney to­gether.

“Brad is very de­tailed in the way he likes to play. I think he’ll be a re­ally good fit with the Scar­lets and his­tor­i­cally the way they like to play.

“I’m sure he’ll con­tinue the way that they like to play, maybe bring a bit more de­tail and a bit more of a south­ern hemi­sphere feel to it.

“He’s re­cruited some pretty good staff. Glenn De­laney is a pretty as­tute op­er­a­tor and has spent a lot of time in the north­ern hemi­sphere so knows the game re­ally well.

“He’s got a good staff around him which will be re­ally im­por­tant to him, help­ing him tran­si­tion in to the com­pe­ti­tion.

“Brad is of­ten pick­ing my brains about what I think about the style of play up here and how it com­pares.

“We’ve had some good con­ver­sa­tions and he’ll be great.

“He’s bas­ing him­self down there as

well so he’ll be im­mersed in that whole en­vi­ron­ment.”

It has been said that Pi­vac’s great­est strength was his man-man­age­ment skills that en­abled him to get the best out of the tal­ent avail­able to him.

An­other Kiwi im­port in Mark Ham­mett didn’t work out at the Cardiff Blues a few years ago af­ter it was un­der­stood he at­tempted to change too much, too fast.

Feel­ing the room and man­ag­ing per­son­al­i­ties is as much of a chal­lenge for a new coach as con­struct­ing an ef­fec­tive game­plan, and equally im­por­tant.

“I think he’s (Mooar) prob­a­bly got that good blend. He cer­tainly doesn’t rule with an iron fist,” ex­plained Welsh­man Gard­ner, who was born in Pon­typridd and still has a home in Cardiff.

“He’s very in­clu­sive. The way the Cru­saders op­er­ated, he worked re­ally closely with Richie Mo’unga, the other 10s and the likes of Ryan Crotty and it would be very collaborat­ive.

“He’d say that, from an anal­y­sis or coach­ing point of view, this is what we’ve seen in the way the Blues or the Chiefs play.

“Then he’ll tell the play­ers ‘we’re think­ing of do­ing this, what do you guys think?’

“It’s very collaborat­ive. The guys are the ones on the pitch, mak­ing the de­ci­sions, they’re play­ing the game and we’re just here to fa­cil­i­tate that process.”

Away from the rugby, Mooar and his fam­ily were given an in­tro­duc­tion to the Welsh lan­guage by Gard­ner’s wife, Nia, be­fore the touched down in Wales.

“Brad and his fam­ily are good friends of my wife and I,” said Gard­ner.

“They were so wel­com­ing when we first got to Christchur­ch. He’s a great guy, which al­ways helps.

“My wife’s first lan­guage is Welsh and she’s been telling them that there is a bit more Welsh speak­ing down west.

“She was try­ing to help his young kids get im­mersed in the lan­guage. She got them a poster the other day with all these Welsh words on it.

“I reckon he prob­a­bly knows how to or­der a cof­fee and a beer — the essentials!

“He’ll be great.”

New Scar­lets coach Brad Mooar.

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