December 15, 2022

Assistant Coaches Named for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa

The Chiefs Rugby Club is pleased to announce that Greg Smith, Darryl Suasua and Brent Kaua have joined the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa in Assistant Coaching roles for the 2023 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season.

This knowledgeable group will join the recently appointed Head Coach, Crystal Kaua, to complete the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa coaching team for 2023.

“In Darryl, Brent and Greg, we have three experienced Chiefs Country coaches that are all willing and wanting to push the game to spaces it hasn’t been before,” said Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Crystal Kaua.

“The dynamic of our coaching group is going to be creative, agile, and performance-driven. There is a deep care that sits in the motivations of these coaches, they have all coached professionally but also within the club and school spaces over many years making them true lovers of the game.”

The set piece will be trained by Greg Smith who has an outstanding resume as both a player and a coach. During his playing career, Smith made 46 international appearances for Fiji, spending eight of his nine years as captain. He was also a Chiefs Rugby Club hooker and after hanging up his boots in 2005 returned to the club as a resource coach. Later he did a stint of coaching in Japan, as well as coaching the Black Ferns and assisting Manu Samoa.

“Greg is smart, driven and has a skill set that will add so much value to our set piece and our team. He will drive high standards but also support the players with the tools to deliver on those standards,” said Kaua.

The attack skills will be honed by Darryl Suasua, former Head Coach of the Black Ferns, who steered the team to two Rugby World Cup titles. He was also the Head Coach and Director of Rugby for Counties Manukau and worked alongside Smith as an assistant coach for Manu Samoa. In 2018 he was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby.

“Darryl’s commitment to the women’s game over the past three decades from club to national level is what I admire most,” stated Kaua.

“Darryl will push performance, he is edgy but also calculated, he thinks differently and is always willing to challenge the status quo. That combined with his work ethic and drive means he is a great fit for the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa.”

Counterattack and kicking will be refined with the Head Coach of the Bay of Plenty Volcanix, Brent Kaua. Kaua has successfully coached women's rugby at many levels, including Hamilton Girls High School teams, Auckland Rugby Sevens, Cook Island Sevens and the Mie Pearls Women's Rugby Club in Japan.

“Brent will challenge and push performance while caring deeply for our players and helping to create an environment where our people can thrive. He is forward-thinking and sees where the game can go,” said Crystal Kaua.

“Kicking and counterattack are two spaces that need real attention in the women’s game, and to have such a quality coach driving those pieces of the game for us is massive.”

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis is excited at the prospects for the 2023 season.

“With such a strong coaching group led by Crystal Kaua and the quality of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa squad we hope to build on the success of the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki competition. We are excited to welcome Brent and Darryl into the Chiefs environment and welcome back Greg, who is returning to the club where he made a huge contribution as a player and coach. The coaching team have significant experience coaching women's rugby in New Zealand, offshore and at the international level.

“Off the back of the success of the Black Ferns World Cup victory, we are looking forward to the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa not only being successful on the park but inspiring the next generation of future Gallagher Chiefs and Waitomo Chiefs Manawa.”

The Waitomo Chiefs Manawa squad will assemble in the new year to defend their Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title.

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Assistant Coaches Named for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa