2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach in Mitre10 Cup learning curve

2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach in Mitre10 Cup learning curve
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Building his rugby knowledge ‘on the job’ is 2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach Sam Ward. Part of the leadership group in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship – it is one steep learning curve that the assistant coach is fully embracing.

While 2019 has not yet been full of highs, a sweet victory over Manawatu on Sunday, September 29 has boosted the squad’s chances in this seasons Premiership.

The Rosmini Old Boy is definitely suited to ‘developing’ in the role, as he has a long-established role with the unions Coach & Player Development Services within the community programs. Now as an assistant coach at Harbour Rugby to Kieran Keane, 2019 might appear to be a steep learning curve, yet these are great years of rugby-education, that a great majority of successful coaches have taken.

Last Word on Rugby spoke to 2019 Harbour Rugby assistant coach Sam Ward a week ago, after his side went down in the Mitre 10 Cup match at QBE Stadium. This week, the club has bounced back extremely well, to secure a bonus-point win on the road.

That is a boost to Ward and his fellow Harbour rugby management group, and they are standing currently in fourth position in the Premiership. Well placed above reigning champions Auckland although, with the next two matches lined-up against two heavyweights, it is going to really test the Harbour squad.

Harbour has also faired well in player retention. Bryn Hall (see main photo), Matt Duffie, Karl Tu’inukuafe, all leading names – and marketable ones – are available and providing a big input to the unions form in 2019.

What better way to be initiated into national provincial rugby coaching, and with Ward being one of a new breed of representative leaders, Harbour Rugby assistant coach Sam Ward is sure to have a bright future.

2019 Harbour Rugby assistant Sam Ward in Learning Curve

Ward has grown into his position with the senior men’s team. Promoted in 2019, to work beside experienced head-coach Kieran Keane. Former Tasman Mako and Connacht decision-maker, he is a respected mentor for Ward to learn off.

He spoke of that relationship when LWOR spoke to him in Albany. “First and foremost, it’s been a fantastic first year.  Coaching at this level, working with Kieran and I suppose, full immersion into the role.

“In terms of the nuts and bolts around forward play, we are asking our guys to do, exactly what a young fella would be asked. Doing the simple things but, under significantly more pressure. In the spotlight, under the floodlights, and bigger and faster, stronger humans.”

“I mean, coachings coaching. Rugby’s rugby, it’s not perfect. But if you keep it simple, and nail things under pressure you fo pretty well.”

The below link is the full interview with Sam Ward by Last Word on Rugby.

He is aware that Harbour might not be at the top-end of the standings yet, though with good inspiration and good outcomes over the last two weeks of regulation play, he should be pleased that his input plays a part.

Sam Ward offers words of support to Tongan RWC rugby team

Sam has also had an input in the Tongan Rugby team. Recently he just finished a stint with the Tongan National team as their Assistant Coach (before his appointment to the Harbour team).

When asked about how he feels about the ʻIkale Tahi, his response is “Yeah really pleased. I think Toutai Kefu and Grant Doorey do a really, really good job with that group of players. They have a core group that keep on fronting for them.

“I think they play a pretty good brand of footy. They know how to do the ‘nuts and bolts of rugby’ well. They can put together phases and put teams under pressure I mean, it’s always just how long they can do that for. The high intensity of a World Cup.

“Fingers crossed for them.”

Although some Harbour rugby fans could have the same feelings, going into the final weeks of the season it is not a game of chance. Harbour Rugby assistant coach Sam Ward and Kieran Keane will need to show some grit, leaders like Bryn Hall and Matt Duffie will add their voice on the park. All squad members will have an impact on their team’s final standing.

And they will all have to play ‘out of their skins’.

As the 2019 Harbour Rugby season reaches its  in the Premiership, the North Shore union holds high hopes of going far in the first season involving a new head coach and assistant group. That would be an impressive return, for the union and for Sam Ward.


Follow all the Mitre 10 Cup action on Last Word on Rugby.


“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images