The prospect of identifying and working with talent who will go on to become All Blacks excites Hawke's Bay Magpies coach Craig Philpott.

"It's a chance to help shape the future of New Zealand rugby to another level from what I have been doing," said Philpott last night after announcing he was ending his six-year tenure with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union to take up a position with New Zealand Rugby in January.

Philpott's new role with NZR incorporates the position of head coach New Zealand Under-20 coach, something he accomplished with flying colours after mentoring the Baby Blacks to a World Cup crown in Georgia last winter.

The Cantabrian also will identify coaching talent and liaise with high schools nationally to help with the transition from the secondary institutions to the high-performance requirements for the budding talent each year.


Philpott said his portfolio would be a three-pronged one with the Baby Blacks' campaign the first one.

The second entails working with myriad Mitre 10 Cup coaches, considering there will be relatively quite a few rookies in the country's premier two-tiered provincial championship.

"It will be a support role alongside Bruce Blair who is already working in that space with New Zealand Rugby."

The third part of his dossier will involve channelling his energy into first XV rugby to ensure that transition from schools to the next tier of rugby is a smooth one.

"We're producing some reasonably good talent in the New Zealand schools' programme which has been very successful in recent years," he said, emphasising it was imperative to ensure the schoolboys embrace athlete development through quality practice.

Renowned for not mincing his words as coach of the Magpies, Philpott said his new role was another stepping stone to becoming a Super Rugby and All Blacks coach.

"You always have a dream goal. Players want to be All Blacks just like coaches want to be All Blacks coaches so that hasn't changed."

He said it was a great chance for him to remain in New Zealand to keep preparing for another opportunity that might come up but also having a cool role to help develop talent and see where that took him.

Philpott said during his Magpies stint he relished introducing home-grown talent as well as grooming players who went on to perform on the ABs and NZ Maori stage.

"That's probably the biggest buzz I've had out of it - that is, watching them develop to believe they are good enough to play at those levels."

In keeping with the legacy of the black-and-white jersey, Philpott was delighted to make three championship finals and coming out winners over Wellington three times.

"A couple of close losses before that and, of course, winning the Ranfurly Shield twice and defending it on 13 or 14 occasions were pretty special moments."

Asked if there was unfinished business with the Magpies, he said it would have been nice to finish on the premiership platform but he felt that would come with time when the young talent comes of age, barring injuries.

"I think we're going to be very competitive so I'm very excited about watching that unfold in the years ahead."

HBRFU chief Mike Bishop said Magpies backs coach Mark Ozich would assume the mantle of head coach role for the next two years.

"We are delighted for Craig that he has secured an excellent opportunity to enhance his coaching ability and to provide a much-needed link to a really key part of the development pathway in New Zealand," Bishop said.

Philpott said Ozich, the former first XV coach of national champions Hastings Boys' High School, was excited to succeed him.

"He brings a lot of passion and enthusiasm so I wish him all the best."

Ozich wished Philpott well in his new role and thanked him for believing in him.

"Moving forward I'm extremely proud to be the head coach of the Magpies and am looking forward to the future within Hawke's Bay rugby."

Ozich said the province was in great shape with school and club talent as well as its fan base and HBRFU staff.

"I'm very optimistic and positive about what the future holds here for Hawke's Bay rugby and look forward to working with the players, coaches, volunteers and community."

A Magpies forwards coach will be appointed soon.