theblues.co.nz and James Mortimer 11.Nov.2013
The Blues have made two key appointments to their management team ahead of the 2014 Investec Super Rugby season.
Richard Fry has been appointed manager of rugby, while former Blues star Isa Nacewa will assume the role of mental skills coach.
Blues CEO Michael Redman said he was thrilled to welcome two high profile and experienced people to the franchise.
“We’re really pleased to appoint people who have the key requisite skills and experience to fulfil the roles but also have such strong links to the Blues region,” Redman said.
“Heritage and identity are important elements of the Blues environment going forward and both Richard and Isa bring a deep understanding of the region, its history and culture as well as bringing highly relevant international experience to the organisation,” he said.
Newly appointed manager of rugby Richard Fry has a vast knowledge of both the playing and commercial sides of rugby.
A member of the Barbarians, Fry played first class rugby for Auckland, Counties Manukau and North Harbour as well as the New Zealand Sevens team before heading overseas for a number of seasons in France and Italy.
Following his playing career, Fry began working in the sponsorship environment for Lion Breweries which led him to become involved in John Hart’s All Blacks management team from 1996-99.
Having consulted to numerous companies on their sponsorship campaigns and distributing a range of products over the last few years, Fry said he was excited about taking on a new challenge with the Blues.
“This is my patch and like a lot of fans and the public, last season I saw a real turnaround in attitude from the Blues and I want to be a part of it,” Fry said.
“The challenges are many and varied but I want to do the most I can to help the Blues be successful. As I’ve seen in the short period of time I’ve been exposed to the organisation, I believe the franchise is moving in the right direction.
“They’ve got good people on board, good systems in place, there’s a continuous improvement ethic and I think it’s much needed for the region. There’s a real desire to do well so I’ve bought into that and I’m excited about the challenges that lie ahead.”
31-year-old Nacewa also brings a wealth of experience to his role, boasting a decade-long professional rugby career.
Having played four seasons with the Blues, won three NPC titles with Auckland and three Heineken Cups, the Rabo Direct Pro 12 and the Amlin Challenge Cup with Leinster, Nacewa believes he is well placed to help the Blues achieve success.
“My role involves getting the players’ mental space right going into trainings and games and upskilling them on the discipline and attributes needed to be winners, not just talented players,” Nacewa said, who was named 2008 Blues player of the year and 2011 Leinster player of the year.
“Coming from being a player myself, I’ve sat in their seats and experienced first hand everything they’re going through so if I can take my experience and relay it back to the players to help them improve then that’s the role working,” he said.
“I discovered mental preparation and training in 2007 and probably didn’t implement it properly until 2011 and then we won four trophies in the last three years alone so I believe it’s an incredibly important aspect of the game.”