Thu, Jan 13, 2022 8:48 AM

Tasman name new head coaches

Gray Cornelius will take over the mantle at the Mako. Photos Shuttersport

Peter Jones

The Tasman Rugby Union have opted to promote from within their own coaching ranks, today naming Gray Cornelius and Dan Perrin as co-head coaches of the Mako for the next two seasons.

Yesterday, long-standing coaches Andrew Goodman and Shane Christie announced their intention to move on from the Tasman coaching set-up after several seasons of success, leaving a big hole to fill.

However, rather than attempting to recruit coaches from other areas, the Tasman executive put their faith in two men who have come up through the local scene, on both sides of the hill.

Gray was an inside back with the Harlequins and Awatere clubs, representing the Marlborough Red Devils from 1999-2005.

He was a successful coach of the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV from 2009-18, winning the Press Cup in 2013.

He coached Tasman B in 2018 and has been a Mako assistant coach for the past three seasons.

Dan played for the Huia and Wanderers clubs, becoming Mako No 27 and playing 29 games as hooker.

He coached the Tasman under-19 side from 2018-20 then stepped up to the Mako ranks for the past two seasons.

Dan Perrin. will take on the role of co-coach. Photo: Shuttersport
Dan Perrin. will take on the role of co-coach. Photo: Shuttersport

Tasman Rugby Union CEO Lyndon Bray was thrilled with the new coaching team.

He was particularly happy with the fact they would offer “great continuity from within the previous coaching group”.

“Those two have been fully involved as assistant coaches … they have been part of our development pathway for a few years now.

“I’m just excited that we don’t have to go outside the region to try and find someone.

“I think it’s great for the players and our management group and our staff that we have that continuity of approach around the Mako.”

He also suggested that given the Mako success in recent years it was doubly important to maintain the culture that has been built up.

“[Gray and Dan] are two different personalities, with different strengths … I think they will make a really good partnership.

“In the Mako environment we have had that type of partnership in the past and it is a model that has worked particularly well.”

Lyndon said a big focus of the union’s work at the moment was connecting back into community rugby, particularly building the health and strength of the clubs.

“[Today’s appointment] is exciting for the clubs, from a rugby standpoint, to have two [Mako] coaches on the ground, one in Blenheim one in Nelson, who will be able to spend a lot of time in club rugby. That will be a huge advantage for us.”