Jamie Joseph to coach NZ Maori with Daryl Gibson assistant

Getty Images     13 Mar 2010     Getty Images

Joseph, who was Assistant Coach of New Zealand Maori in 2006 and the Wellington head Coach since 2008, will be New Zealand Maori head Coach while 35-year-old Gibson will be his assistant.

Forty-year-old Jamie Joseph, who played 20 Tests for the All Blacks from 1992 - 1995, comes from outstanding Maori rugby stock. His father Jim was a Marlborough and Maori rugby legend and a mainstay of the New Zealand Maori team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jamie followed in his father’s footsteps, playing 10 matches for New Zealand Maori from 1991 - 1994 and helping the team to its Churchill Cup victory in 2006, with wins over New South Wales, the USA, Ireland A and Scotland A.

Daryl Gibson played 12 matches for New Zealand Maori from 1996 through to 2001 in what was a hugely successful period for the team and won the Tom French Memorial Cup as Maori Player of the Year in 2000. He played 19 Tests for the All Blacks from 1999 to 2002 and has been Assistant Coach of the Crusaders since 2009.

The announcement of the coaching appointments comes as the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and New Zealand Maori Rugby Board (NZMRB) prepare to announce an exciting programme of matches for the New Zealand Maori team this year.

Centenary celebrations are already underway, the first of which will be a curtain raiser match between Te Hiku O Te Ika (Northern Region) and Te Tini a Maui (Central Region) at the Rebel Sport Super 14 match in Hamilton tonight between the Chiefs and the Crusaders.

Jamie Joseph said: “I’m thrilled by the challenge of coaching the team in such a milestone year.

“It’s a real honour to again be involved in coaching the New Zealand Maori team. All players that pull on the Maori jersey trace their whakapapa (genealogy) back to the Maori canoes that first arrived in New Zealand, and to the history of our people, so it means they embrace the huge responsibility of going out and playing as Maori rugby players,” he added.

The coaching appointments were made by a selection panel made up of NZMRB Chairman Wayne Peters, NZRU Board Member Graham Mourie and Brent Anderson, the NZRU General Manager of Provincial Union Relationships and Community Rugby.

Mr Peters said Jamie Joseph and Daryl Gibson were outstanding candidates.

“As former New Zealand Maori players, they both have an intimate knowledge of the team’s unique culture, values and expectations. As coaches they are also well versed in establishing a successful team culture and know what it takes to succeed. We wish them every success as they prepare for what promises to be an exciting year for the team,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters also paid tribute to former New Zealand Maori coach Donny Stevenson.

“Donny had an exceptional record as Assistant Coach under Matt Te Pou from 2002 - 2005 and as head Coach from 2006 to 2008 when the team won the Churchill Cup (2006) and the Pacific Nations Cup (2008). I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic work and passion and commitment he has shown for the New Zealand Maori team and for Maori rugby overall,” Mr Peters said.

Peter Potaka has been re-appointed as the New Zealand Maori team manager. Peter has worked with the team for the last eight campaigns and will bring a wealth of experience.

The New Zealand Maori team will be announced at the end of the Rebel Sport Super 14 in May.