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Giving back — Kahu Tamatea signs as a PB player development manager

RUGBY

A RUGBY player who had scores of games in the scarlet jersey is returning to Poverty Bay to join the union's staff.

Kahu Tamatea has signed on as a player development manager for the Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union.

A second significant staffing change is the addition of former Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti coaching adviser Ray Noble, who will be the community rugby manager.

Tamatea, 39, played over 80 games for Poverty Bay.

His most recent representative rugby, however, was last year for West Coast and he played against both Ngati Porou East Coast and Poverty Bay in the Heartland Championship.

West Coast ended Poverty Bay's season in the Lochore Cup semifinals and went on to lose the final 23-19 against South Canterbury.

PBRFU chief executive Josh Willoughby said he was delighted to offer Tamatea a position “at a union he and his whanau have given so much to”.

“The player development role attracted a lot of interest and after an extensive recruitment process, we couldn't be any more excited to appoint Kahu to the role.

“The majority of Kahu's role will see him developing our budding rugby players in the school and club environments but there's also room for him to spend some time working as a mentor with our emerging players.”

Willoughby said Noble, a renowned softball and basketball coach, would bring his knowledge and experience to rugby.

“He's had some great successes over the past few years with other codes. It will be exciting to see what he achieves with our rugby community,” Willoughby said.

“We've committed more resources than ever to developing our game . . . our role is to support our rugby community and make sure everyone has a quality rugby experience.”

Tamatea played for Poverty Bay from 2000 to 2002, 2005 to 2011 and in 2015.

His 100th first-class game was against Ngati Porou East Coast, another province he represented. Tamatea had nine caps for NPEC in 2003.

He will move from Nelson to take up his new role.

Tamatea said he was keen to get “stuck in” and give back to his community.

“Opportunities like this are rare and I love the direction the union is going in, so I leapt at the chance and am looking forward to getting back to my stamping ground.”

He noted the decline in player numbers at high school level and wanted to be part of the solution.

“If kids are dropping off at high school, then this will have a snowball effect on our clubs and our Poverty Bay team.”

Noble said the union would work with clubs to help them develop.

“Our approach will be to build strong relationships and credibility within rugby . . . to improve the experience for the participant.”

Miah Nikora has shifted into full-time work with the union after adding coach development responsibilities to his referee development manager role.

Mentoring and developing: Former Poverty Bay player Kahu Tamatea will work as a player development manager for the rugby union. Picture supplied
Developing the Game: Ray Noble is the Poverty Bay rugby union's new community rugby manager. Picture supplied
Coming Home: The most recent representative rugby experience in Tairawhiti for Kahu Tamatea was playing against Ngati Porou East Coast last year. The veteran of over 80 games for Poverty Bay is returning to the region, taking up a role with the Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union. Picture by Paul Rickard