WELLINGTON, New Zealand (WNN) — Mick Byrne, a former skills coach for both the All Blacks and Wallabies, has been named Foundation Head Coach of Fijian Drua at Super Rugby Pacific.
Byrne was an Australian rules player and coach before joining the All Blacks and later the Wallabies primarily as a kicking coach. He has also coached in England and Scotland.
Byron’s appointment on a two-year contract was announced at a news conference on Friday and marks a major step in the progress of Drua’s first Super Rugby season in 2022.
Chief executive Brian Thorburn said Drua was lucky to have signed a coach of Byrne’s caliber. The Australian-born coach has been involved in two Rugby World Cup titles, five Rugby Championships and 11 Bledisloe Cups with the All Blacks.
Byrne “is a seasoned professional and shines through the intense selection process by displaying genuine passion for the club and Fijian rugby and by outlining concrete plans for success on and off the field,” said Thorburn.
“Mick makes it a priority to maintain respectful and cordial relationships with players, employees and partners, which is especially important to us.”
Byrne said he was “honoured and proud” to be appointed.
“I have followed and admired the way the Fiji teams played the game during my coaching career,” he said. “It is a style of play that keeps the joy of rugby at its core and we are very excited to help our club show it to the world when the new Super Rugby season begins.”
Drua will be based in the Australian state of Queensland during its inaugural season due to pandemic quarantine and border restrictions.
“None of us are under the illusion that it will be easy,” Byrne said. “We understand the challenges we face in this first season away from home.
“But within that challenge lies the opportunity to grow stronger as a team and as a club. It will allow us to be patient with our players, help them find their way and develop naturally into the sport that we are playing.” We want to play
“This exciting Fiji will be the brand of rugby that our players and fans love but with its clinical aspects in both attack and defence. Our first two seasons will be hard work but the journey rewarding and enjoyable.”
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