Friday, 27 October, 2017
Taranaki Rugby thanks community and commercial partners for support
Taranaki Rugby chief executive Michael Collins is thanking the Taranaki community and commercial partners for their support of the Port Taranaki Bulls and outgoing coach Colin Cooper during another successful representative season.
The Port Taranaki Bulls’ season came to an end at the semifinal stage of the Mitre 10 Cup last weekend, and while 2017 didn’t finish with a title victory, Taranaki did claim the most prized possession in New Zealand provincial rugby – the Ranfurly Shield.
Collins said the thrilling 55-43 shield victory against Canterbury in early October was a fantastic achievement, which the team followed up with a dominant first-up defence against Manawatu to begin the union’s sixth shield tenure.
“Taranaki people are passionate about Taranaki rugby and the Port Taranaki Bulls, and we really thank them for coming along to our home games this season and offering messages of support, whether it be in person, emails or online,” he said.
“It was amazing to see New Plymouth airport packed out with fans when the boys brought the shield home and the fantastic support they received during the shield parade down Devon Street, the first defence against Manawatu, and at the Mitre 10 Cup semifinal against Tasman,” he said.
“It’s great that we live in a province where provincial sport is still so well supported, both by the community and commercial partners.
“We have an exceptional group of commercial partners and they are really supportive of Taranaki Rugby’s role in the community. They are a vital component of Taranaki Rugby’s success and we thank them for getting behind our game.”
The semifinal loss to Tasman was also the final match of coach Cooper’s successful eight-year stint in charge of the side. During that period, Taranaki won the Ranfurly Shield twice, won the national provincial championship title in 2014, and reached the competition semifinals four times.
“It’s difficult to quantify what impact Colin has had on Taranaki Rugby and the wider Taranaki community,” Collins said.
“As well as the many outstanding on-field results of the Port Taranaki Bulls, Colin has also had a huge influence on the union’s off-field success, through his skills, his mana, and the high respect he is held throughout the rugby community.
“Through his talent identification and intuitive man-management ability, he has been instrumental in the development of a long list of players who have gone on to play Super Rugby, and represent the All Blacks, Maori All Blacks, and national age-group sides – young people have come to Taranaki because they have wanted to be coached by him,” Collins said.
“Colin has also been highly influential in the inclusive, family-oriented culture of the Port Taranaki Bulls and Taranaki Rugby. He has always made a point that families and player welfare come first, and has been supportive of players getting out into the community, meeting fans and helping community causes.
“We thank Colin for his mighty contribution to Taranaki Rugby and wish him all the best in his role of head coach of the Chiefs – he will truly be missed,” Collins said.
Taranaki Rugby have started the difficult job of replacing Cooper for the 2018 season, which will include pre-season Ranfurly Shield defences, regular season shield defences, and the Mitre 10 Cup.
Applications for the position are now being called and close on 7 November. A link to a full job description and application form can be found here: http://trfu.co.nz/news/news/head-coach-port-taranaki-bulls/
“We expect a number of high-quality applicants for the role, from Taranaki, New Zealand and internationally,” Collins said. “Our appointment will be based on a number of factors including experience, past successes, personal attributes, man-management skills, and whether their values and vision align with ours.”
Collins said Taranaki Rugby would take their time to assess the applications and interview a short list of candidates, with an appointment likely in late November or early December. The new coach will start in the role in January.