Rugby: Woodward to add expertise to Taniwha coaching team

By Cameron Leslie

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OLD HEAD: Derren Witcombe has invited Northland coaching guru Bryce Woodward into the ITM Cup coaching team as a technical adviser.PHOTO/MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
OLD HEAD: Derren Witcombe has invited Northland coaching guru Bryce Woodward into the ITM Cup coaching team as a technical adviser.PHOTO/MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

Rugby coaching guru Bryce Woodward will join the Northland ITM Cup side for this season as a technical adviser.

Woodward's role will be to review whatever systems are in place and tinker with them if needed, while also using his extensive rugby knowledge to help shape tactics and particular aspects of matches where needed.

The former Taniwha coach said he was delighted to be invited into the team.

"I was keen to be involved, I couldn't commit to anything full-time with my role at Northland Toyota but I was happy to be asked and be involved," he said.

"I think when you've coached for as long as I have, you tend to underplay the knowledge you've acquired year-in year-out. I learned a lot from my two years at the Blues but I'm not going to come in and change the world.

"I will be just looking at what has been done and looking at some options, and maybe changing a few things."

Taniwha head coach Derren Witcombe was upbeat about having Woodward enter his coaching team.

"It's exciting. I thought about it at the end of our competition last year - it's a short season and to help the load that George [Konia, assistant coach] and I carry we thought why not [get Woodward in] when you've got a guy like him floating around," Witcombe said.

"He'll be helping out at trainings full season once we go full-time."

He added that while Woodward's role was yet to be fully defined, it could involve coaching certain parts of the game such as game patterns or kicking.

Witcombe said for him it was about working to people's strengths and weaknesses to make the Taniwha team stronger.

"We're trying to use our strengths to certain parts of the game ... Bryce will have a part to play in that.

"He's going to help George and I grow as well so it's only to be good for the province."

There is no doubting Woodward will fit in with Konia and Witcombe, with Woodward saying he supports their locals-first selection policy.

Woodward noted it was important to remember the ITM Cup was a semi-professional rugby competition.

"Some provinces that have access to a lot of money still go out and buy a lot of players," Woodward said.

"But we don't fit into that category so you make the cloth that you fit in, which [for us] is fostering rugby at grassroots level as they transition into semi-professional rugby," he said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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