TWO former Southland Rugby stalwarts have been named as assistant coaches of the Southland Stags.
SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags head coach Dale MacLeod will be joined by Jason Kawau and newly appointed David Hall.
MacLeod said he was looking forward to the knowledge and passion both Kawau and Hall would bring.
“For us, it’s about creating a pathway for not only our Stags, but our wider training squad and academy boys.
“Having Jase and David on board is exciting. We understand how each other works and work well together.
“They know our boys from previous years with Jase having coached for the last four seasons and David being Academy manager since 2017.”
The interview process involved several respected Southland coaches, with MacLeod setting the expectation his full-time assistant coach and at least one part-time assistant coach would be from Southland.
“While we are about developing Southland into a competitive Mitre 10 Cup side, it’s also key to develop local coaches who can pass on their knowledge to our next generation.”
Although a new addition to the Stags coaching setup as a forward coach, Hall is no stranger to the Southland rugby scene, having coached Pirates-Old Boys to the 2018 Galbraith Shield final.
He started his professional career with Southland in 2002, playing his final game in 2015 with 108 Southland caps to his name.
For the past four years he has been Academy manager for the union, overseeing the development of many of the players he will now coach.
“I am really excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to help coach the stags in 2020,” Hall said.
“Dale has done a great job getting the group together and setting a high standard and now I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting into my work with the lads.
MacLeod and Hall were under way with preparations and some exciting player signings.
Kawau would return in July as attack coach in what will be his fourth season with the Stags.
He played more than 50 games for Southland between 2005 and 2009, going on to play for the Highlanders and Hurricanes in Super Rugby before a stint in Japan with Kobi.
“It’s exciting to be back under the leadership of Dale. I admire his commitment to Southland and the integrity he brings,” Kawau said.
“My real passion is working with elite players, and the later season brings an opportunity for a running game with the warmer weather.
Kawau also believed it could be a closer competition this year.
“Covid-19 has no doubt made it financially difficult for other unions, whereas down here (Southland) we have always made it work with what we have, so it could be a very exciting match up this year.”