The Tasman Mako women have called on the services of a former Black Fern in a bid to reach the heights of their male counterparts.
Mel Bosman brings a wealth of experience to the role having played in two Rugby World Cups and making almost two decades worth of provincial appearances.
After going 2-7 to finish fourth out of six in the championship in 2019, Mel hopes to make the Mako a force in provincial rugby.
The two-time world champion says she likens the union to a ‘sleeping volcano’.
“Our women are ready to unleash and explode, if we give them that confidence to unleash that inner beast, we will be top of the table like our men.”
Mel has been on the ground with the side for the last four years in the high-performance academy as the skills coach and coach of the U18s and Waimea women’s sides.
She says she recognised the need to take the FPC side to another level and created an action plan to grow the side.
“I’ve been very busy ever since.”
Mel is setting her goals high and aspires to win the Farah Palmer Cup by 2022.
“The players understand the men started at the bottom of the table for a number of years until they got that structure right.”
She says there is an abundance of talent in the region.
“They have struggled but they are young in provincial rugby terms … I know they get frustrated because they do work hard.”
Mel’s philosophy as coach is to act as a mentor and not a taskmaster.
“It’s about self-motivating the players and giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions on the field and execute them well.”
She says, by just telling players what to do, you create robots rather than rugby players.
“We need to empower them and give them that self-belief they can compete with any other team in the country.”
Mel didn’t take long to establish a core leadership group within the squad.
“Those players bring different levels of expertise but the value they all share is the respect for the jersey.”
She says the squad are a tight-knit group and are all great friends off the pitch.
“They go to war prepared to die for each other and that’s something you can’t coach.”
Mel’s last visit to Trafalgar Park was as an eight-year-old, winning two gold medals in the Colgate Games. She hopes more silverware will follow as she returns more than 30 years later.
The 17-test Black Fern has been playing rugby since she was four. However, once she got to high school, her parents steered her towards the netball court.
“When I went to Waikato University, I quickly got rid of the netball skirt and put my rugby boots back on.”
In a career spanning the globe and four New Zealand provinces, Mel says her highlight was undoubtedly defending the World Cup in 2010.
“Lifting that cup and playing in front of that energy at Twickenham, in front of thousands of people, it was pretty damn special.”
Tasman Rugby Union CEO Tony Lewis says Mel is a very talented coach.
“When she was available to do this full time it was quite simple, to have a female, and a very good female coach, is exciting.”
Tony believes Mel will help build resilience in the side. “I think she will bring a hard edge to the team.”