Moana Pasifika players together at training.
Moana Pasifika announced the addition of two new assistant coaches to help the team in their 2024 Super Rugby campaign.
Nearly a thousand points for Wales, an ITM Cup and three Super Rugby Championships make up the elite resume of the two newest additions to Moana Pasifika for next season.
Former Manu Samoa co-coach Toaigaotumua Tom Coventry and Wales Rugby veteran Stephen Jones will add a wealth of international experience to the Auckland-based Super rugby franchise.
The two new signings will round off a trio of world-class coaches, which includes All Black great Fa’alogo Tana Umaga as head honcho.
Coventry says the coaching staff are focused on bringing a new energy to Moana Pasifika, after a tough few seasons.
“We’ll be introducing ourselves to the players, trying to keep it as upbeat as possible! It’s a new season, we’ve got new coaches, we’ve got a lot of new players.
“We’ve got a wealth of experience but we’ve also got some real healthy youth in our team that will be really exciting for our boys.”
Coventry says the coaches aren’t looking to dwell too much on the past, and are focused on building on the foundations that have carried the team the past two seasons.
Being an integral part of two of the Chiefs’ Super Rugby titles, and winning one with the Blues, Coventry’s playing experience will also play a huge factor in his time with Moana.
He says coming into the mix with Umaga and Jones was a good decision.
“I think as the head coach, you’re looking for people with similar values. He (Umaga) understands what I can bring to his team and vice versa.
“I see how he operates, I know what he’s strong at and I know he’s passionate about this team and stepping into this role. He’s done some homework. He knows the people he’s putting around him.
“I think that’s the key to having similar traits, and also challenging each other. We’re probably gonna challenge each other but we’re all about making sure the team moves forward.”
Wales rugby veteran Stephen Jones will also bring his elite experience to the Moana Pasifika team, with an outstanding career with Wales. He will also build the strike power with Moana Pasifika’s attack, serving as the Wales attacking coach for the last three years.
Jones and his family have moved from Wales to New Zealand for the upcoming season, and upon coming into a new environment he says it is an exciting time to grow Pacific rugby.
“I’m fortunate to sign for a few years and I’m really looking forward to this first season. Getting to know the plays, working with such incredible people with the coaches and background staff.
He says following the Rugby World Cup, the players will be “excited and energised” to get stuck into pre-season preparations.
“I think when players have a positive experience like they would have had in the World Cup coming back they will be excited and energized. They’d want to come back and improve their skill set and game.
“We as coaches have a duty to give them an environment to flourish and that’s what we’ll be striving to achieve.”