Jono Phillips may not have moved to Nelson for a rugby role but he found an offer from Waimea Old Boys too good to refuse.
Jono moved down from Taranaki earlier this year to be with his partner and helped coach the Marist seniors after arriving midway through the season but has decided to take up the role of director of rugby at Waimea Old Boys.
He ran an academy programme which saw three women players win Sevens silver medals at the Rio Olympics.
Jono spent 10 years in Scottish rugby heading up their academy and working with several of their national teams.
He then returned to New Zealand and did eight years at the Hurricanes as an assistant coach and High Performance Director and then a short two-year stint with Taranaki before moving to Nelson in February, where his partner is lives.
“I was looking for a role to get into the community and did the role with Marist and that gave me the hunger again.
“I got chatting to Wayne [Oldham] and [Waimea] was keen to move their club forward and moving to a new town it’s always good to get involved.”
Jono is keen to provide more support for coaches at all levels.
“I want to be a bit more individualised with what coaches learn, put a Waimea slant on it.”
Jono is already running Monday night trainings for players to learn about decision-making processes in game situations.
“I want anyone who wants to learn the game of rugby to be here.”
Jono wants players and coaches to have a better understanding of the game so that the standard of the game improves.
“The club has some really good ideas and some really good people behind the scenes and hopefully I can add to that.
“We have a succession plan, we understand who’s leaving school, who’s coming to the club.
“There is success in winning but I won’t rate thing solely on that initially, but it’s more about creating a culture that helps that.”
Jono says part of his role is to entice players to the club but he’d rather invest in the people who are at the club already.
“If you’re learning, you get better and you progress.
“I’d like to get a Waimea way of playing going that suits the players at the club.”