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New HB coach
in Henry mould
By CLINTON LLEWELLYN
I'm very excited about working
bloody hard for this province to
ensure we are a force to be
reckoned with in 2012.
New Magpies coach
New Hawke's Bay Magpies coach
Craig Philpott will be hoping he can
follow in the footsteps of another
former school teacher turned top-
flight rugby coach when he takes the
reins in next year's ITM Cup
Like the All Blacks' Rugby World
Cup-winning coach Graham Henry,
Philpott is leaving behind a success-
ful teaching career to take up rugby
Henry was principal at Kelston
Boys' High School when he left to
coach the Auckland Blues in 1996.
The 44-year-old Philpott will be leav-
ing Christchurch Boys' High School,
where he has been assistant princi-
pal since 2004, after he was
announced as the Magpies coach for
the next two seasons, with former
Magpies captain Danny Lee as his
Not that Philpott has been too
stuck into the classroom. Philpott
has been coach of the Canterbury
Colts side since 2008 and worked as
a lineout analyst with Canterbury's
ITM Cup Premiership-winning side
this year, and with the Canterbury
Crusaders from 2008-09.
The schoolteacher and hard-
running lock, who played with
Canterbury from 1987 to 1992 before
heading to Japan to play for four
years with the Toshiba club, says
rugby and teaching go hand in
Both are arts that have people at
their core. Rugby, perhaps more
than any other sport, is about people
-- whether they are players, partners,
supporters, sponsors, adminis-
trators. The Magpies carry people's
passion for their province and that
won't change under my leadership,''
says Philpott, an International
Rugby Board-accredited coach.
Philpott, who played rugby with
the All Blacks' coach-in-waiting
Steve Hansen, has been coached by
former All Blacks assistants Wayne
Smith and Mike Cron.
All are friends I will be extending
a warm Bay invitation to in the
coming months,'' says Philpott, who
already knows Magpies players and
CBHS old boys Mark Jackman,
Brodie Retallick and Hugh Reed.
Despite the analytical nature of
his work with the Crusaders,
Philpott says the Magpies style of
play next season will not be overly
structured or predictable.
Rugby at the top level is analysed
to death,'' he says. The teams that
will rise to the top will be those who
have the ability to play different
styles and patterns at different times
within a game, and those who have
developed individual players with
the decision-making abilities that
allow them to create opportunities,
assess and then execute.''
Philpott says recruitment and
retention are key parts of his role,
which he and Hawke's Bay Rugby
Union chief executive Mike Bishop
and Danny Lee will be looking at''
before he relocates to the Bay in
Philpott will be happy to let Lee
steer the ship'' when it comes to the
Magpies backline, but he will be the
man responsible for moulding a
brutal Magpies forward pack.
As a forward coach, I certainly
have some non-negotiables around
set-piece strength and accuracy.
Brutal defensive attitude is also an
expectation,'' he says.
After the dumping of co-coach
Peter Russell, and with Tom Coven-
try gone after five relatively success-
ful years, Philpott knows he has to
get results to win the hearts and
minds of Hawke's Bay rugby fans.
Although I see it more as an
opportunity than a challenge. My
initial impression is that Hawke's
Bay and Canterbury have a great
deal in common in our rich rugby
history, provincial passion and
hunger for success. I'm very excited
about working bloody hard for this
province to ensure we are a force to
be reckoned with in 2012.''
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