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Dumped All Blacks coach Plumtree lands on feet with new side

By Ian Cameron
John Plumtree (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Axed All Blacks forwards coach John Plumtree has found himself a new role just weeks after he got his marching orders from the NZR.

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Plumtree – along with attack coach Brad Mooar – paid a heavy price for New Zealand’s failing against Ireland, with NZR opting to let them go while retaining head coach Ian Foster.

Many saw the pair as sacrificial lambs of sorts, who usefully provided the union with two heads to roll as the New Zealand public bayed for change following the All Blacks’ shock series loss to Ireland on home soil in July.

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Now Plumtree has picked up a new role with Manawatu in the NPC. Manawatu head coach Peter Russell told Stuff.co.nz that Plumtree reached out to the club in order to return to coaching as fast as possible.

“He reached out to me to see if he could have a hand in taking the distraction away of the last two or three weeks,” Russell told Stuff. “He wanted to get back on the grass and get coaching, because that’s his passion. I’d be bloody stupid if I didn’t [avail of his offer].

“That’s what you do as coaches. I’ve been through that before. You don’t sit at home in self-pity, you’ve just got to deal with it, and the only way to deal with it is get back on the horse again, no matter what level you get to.”

“He hasn’t sort of guaranteed anything over the next couple of weeks, but he will just come in when needed, observe from a distance,” Russell said. “We’re really just very privileged to have him on board in that sort of capacity.

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“It’s a real positive for us, and for our level of rugby, that we have someone like him coming back into our environment.

“He’s also thankful for the opportunity. He just wants to coach. He just wants to keep going and support where he can. It’s fantastic.”

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