The NZ Barbarians club is looking to make an annual event of it after the "phenomenal success" of its inaugural interactive rugby coaching clinic held on Sunday.
More than 200 coaches from as far afield as Bay of Plenty converged on Cornwall Park to soak up some key technical tips and coaching advice from the likes of Graham Henry, All Blacks scrum doctor Mike Cron, and ITM Cup coaches Paul Feeney of Auckland and Steve Jackson of North Harbour.
"The response was phenomenal," said key driver and Barbarians member Terry Horne, himself a former successful St Paul's First XV coach. "We started out thinking there would be about 60, and more than 200 turned up."
Horne says the clinic, which has a key link to the Barbarians' desire to promote and foster grassroots rugby, should become a fixture on the calendar and may even expand.
Henry looked at defence patterns, and then there was a coach rotation including Scott Pierce, now based in Japan. Areas focused on included tackle, catch and pass, and cleanout techniques, back attack, and set-piece domination, followed by a Q and A, stimulating plenty of rugby thought and debate, which continued into the bar afterwards.
Many of the coaches came armed with notepads, phones and other recording devices as they soaked up ideas ahead of the fast approaching club and schools seasons.
"We share a lot of ideas in New Zealand rugby, unlike in some other countries. But it's good as a Barbarian to foster rugby too," say Feeney, himself a Barbarian. He and Jackson coach the Blues Development XV together and have a heap of intellectual rugby property.
"It was chocka and ran really smoothly. When you get the current All Blacks scrum coach and the former All Blacks coach there, those are real drawcards," said Feeney. "And for Mike Cron to come up from Christchurch, when he is fully involved and busy with the New Zealand Under 20s, is just fantastic."
Former Manu Samoa first five Tanner Vili has just hung his boots up but still helps out coaching around the Auckland region. Like many others who were on hand, he thoroughly enjoyed the clinic and learned much.
"Some were surprised at how basic some of the stuff was. They expected all these coaching secrets, but it was simple, basic stuff, which is what you want from your team," said Vili.
As a former back, he took close note of some of the forward drills as part of his upskilling.
Members of the Howick and Rosmini First XVs were on hand to help with the drills. Feedback for the clinic has been almost universally positive.