Heartland Coaches Appointed Thompson heads exciting coaching group

Buller Rugby is excited to announce the appointment of Nathan Thompson as the Francis Mining Buller Heartland Head Coach for 2022.

Thompson, a former Buller Heartland five eighth , has been involved in representative coaching for Buller over previous seasons however will get an opportunity to lead the coaching team which includes former international and super rugby player Tii Paulo and current Westport RFC coach Craig Adams.

Buller Rugby’s Andrew Duncan was thrilled to secure Thompson, “Nathan is one of the best rugby brains I have come across during my time involved in the game. He is an outstanding rugby coach and I know the players will relish his astute knowledge and ideas around the game. Outside of his known credentials as a coach which includes multiple titles as Ngakawau RFC coach, the appointments’ panel were really impressed with the detail around connecting the community to the team and ensuring our proud history is well preserved”.

Thompson is extremely delighted to be working alongside Paulo and Adams, “TP did great things for the Buller boys last year, and in the brief time we worked together it soon became apparent that he is a man of rare integrity, with a really authentic coaching style that the players both loved and responded to. I’m stoked to have him onboard, huge depth of knowledge and capability and I know the players will be thrilled”. “Red is a close personal friend of mine who I trust unreservedly. He’s a deep thinker, and a really gritty sporting competitor with a never give up attitude, all traits I admire greatly. He’s an extremely talented coach and overdue a crack at shaping the future of Buller rugby at this level. I’m really excited to be able to secure him”.

Named as the team backs coach, Westport RFC senior coach Craig Adams will get his first taste of Heartland coaching after leading his club side to senior titles in the past two seasons . Duncan said “Craig thoroughly deserves this opportunity The thing I really love about his appointment is the connection to the game locally. He has coached at every single level of the game in the province . He is deeply passionate about this region, and I think back to the work he led recently with the moist movers’ following the Westport flood . He is highly regarded as a coach and will drive some strong heritage connections to the group leveraging off our proud rugby unions history”.

Adams is delighted to be involved in the coaching set up stating “ this is a role that I’ve been determined to get my hands on and feel excited by the challenge. I have been lucky enough to work under some great Buller coaches and appreciate the guidance and support of these people, especially Bart, Bug, Dozer and Nathan. At a personal level, I am driven by my family. My grandfather was a Life Member of the BRU and my uncle Gerald Hart was a key figure in the golden years of Buller Rugby. On a different level, I have a close association with Primary School Rugby and there is truly nothing better than seeing players I have coached at that level achieving success at the Heartland level. I am fully aware of the challenges that we level achieving success at the Heartland level. I am fully aware of the challenges that we face but will approach these with a positive, determined mindset. Let’s bring on 2022!’

Ti’i Paulo will return to the coaching group after being involved last year. Duncan said “the players thoroughly enjoyed TP’s coaching last season. He drove a great team culture but ultimately his experience of being an international and super rugby player was pretty rewarding for our players, they totally respect him and his coaching ability . I think much like his playing career, Ti’i is destined to coach at a higher level and we are grateful to have him start his representative coaching journey with us”.

Heartland Manager John Smith will retain his role in the management group as will team Physio Silas Carey. Both Smith and Carey are hugely respected members of the squad and retaining them is a huge boost. Thompson has also shared a desire to include additional resource to the management group, including close engagement with local club coaches to ensure the team is well prepared ahead of the 2022 Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship.