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Canterbury drop co-coaching structure, on the lookout for new top dog

By Online Editors
Reuben Thorne

It’s a case of back to the future for Canterbury Rugby as New Zealand’s oldest provincial union looks to appoint a head coach of their National Provincial Championship side for 2022 and beyond.


Canterbury Rugby Union had been operating a Co-Coaching model for the past two seasons; however, after an extensive review it was determined the right direction to move in 2022 was with the more familiar Head Coach model. “On reflection we felt having a single Head Coach, with the responsibility of leading all aspects of the men’s NPC program, is the best fit for Canterbury Rugby,” CEO Tony Smail said.

Mark Brown and Reuben Thorne, who both lead successful businesses outside of rugby, have indicated that they would not be applying for the role of Head Coach. “Both of them are special men who have played a significant role in this organisation over a number of years and helped in the development of a lot of young men in Canterbury and for that we thank them.”

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“They’ve had some extremely challenging times to cope with in terms of Covid 19, lockdowns, competition and roster changes and they’ve been professional and adaptable at every point and led our team’s response.”

“The hours and dedication that they have put into our NPC side and organization have been unquestionable, so thanks to Reuben, Mark and their families for offering their time and energy so willingly.”

“It’s been a great organization and team to have been a part of,” said Brown, “I wish all the success to the team and the new Coaching group.”

Reuben Thorne also echoed those thoughts “Canterbury Rugby has been a big part of my life for a long time and I would like to wish the team and new coaching group all the best going forward.”


Applications for the role are set to open pre-Christmas with interviews to follow in the New Year.

“We’re looking to cast the net as wide as possible and see who’s out there. We have a history of success and in order to remain that way we want to ensure we have the best person leading our top men’s side,” said Smail. “We owe it to our fans, players and sponsors.”

– Canterbury Rugby


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