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Highlanders raid WRU for new attack coach

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Current Wales Women attack coach Richard Whiffin will join the Highlanders ahead of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Whiffin joined the national coaching team in September 2021 having spent two years with URC side Scarlets, working alongside Ioan Cunningham.

Formerly of London Irish, Whiffin was a member of the management team that steered the club to a Heineken Cup semi-final in 2008 and a Premiership final in 2009. Whiffin became the club’s attack coach in 2010, developing an exciting style of play before heading to Gloucester in 2016 to head up their academy.

In 2018 he joined the England U20 coaching group to lead the attack and backs.

In May 2019 he joined the Scarlets where he worked alongside former Highlander’s defence coach, Glenn Delaney. Whiffin led the club to be among the top try scoring teams in the PRO14.

Whiffin said, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Wales both with the Scarlets and Wales Women but this opportunity was one I really couldn’t resist.

“Super Rugby has always been a huge part of my rugby education, from watching on TV as a child to studying the competition as a coach, so to get the opportunity to coach at this level is a massive privilege that I am really grateful to the Highlanders for. I am really looking forward to getting down to Dunedin and experiencing all that it has to offer.

“But for now my priority is on preparing the team for the Rugby World Cup starting with Scotland on the weekend. We can take confidence from our Six Nations win against them, we’ve trained well since arriving in New Zealand but now we need to nail the details over the coming week.”

Highlanders’ current head coach Clarke Dermody was coached by Whiffin at London Irish and said this of his arrival:

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“I worked with Richard when I was player and was impressed by his abilities then, he has since gone on to do a great deal more in some of the toughest competitions in Europe. His experiences with Gloucester, the Scarlets, England U20s and the Welsh Women’s team will no doubt add to our environment. While his portfolio is attack his background suggests he has the ability to get the best out of our players and get them to improve their all-round game.”

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