Rugby

Zimbabwe coaches swept away by Hurricanes’ rugby culture

Zimbabwe coaches swept away by Hurricanes’ rugby culture - Sports Leo

Zimbabwe’s rugby coach Brendan Dawson and team manager Jason Maritz have spent two weeks with New Zealand Super Rugby side the Hurricanes to gain technical and practical knowledge in the hope of improving the sport in the African country.

“We had good chats with them all,” Maritz told IndependentSport from Wellington last week.

“They are all very down-to-earth and humble guys, that just love rugby.”

Maritz said it was refreshing to see first-hand the simple approach adopted by one of the top franchise sides in the world.

“What Dawsie [Dawson] and I noticed is how the Hurricanes set-up is very simple. It’s very straightforward, no special equipment, no fancy change rooms, a very humble kind of environment. But as soon as the players and coaches walk onto the training field, the field is treated with respect. The players’ execution of skills, and the interpretation of the coaches’ instructions, was unbelievably good.

“You know, the execution of meetings and bringing information from meetings to the field, and putting it into action, was incredible to watch.

“The skills-set and the hunger of players to wear the Hurricanes jersey, to represent their province and to play in Super Rugby, was incredible to see. That’s something we noticed. The perception is that New Zealand rugby has everything, the best of best, top of the top, but they really don’t. But then they maximise everything they have, which was very cool to see.”

There will be a chance for some of Zimbabwe’s top players to spend time with the Wellington Lions – the Hurricanes feeder team which competes in the premier domestic cup in New Zealand – the Mitre 10 Cup.

“The Hurricanes have been very open, from their senior management all the way down to players,” Maritz said. “They have been accessible. They have been open to sharing ideas, strategies, culture, as well as obviously information around patterns and game plans. It’s been awesome to be on the inside as the week progresses to the Chiefs game [on Friday].

“It’s amazing to see how a Super Rugby team operates and goes about their business. The good news chatting to coach Dawsie is that he is very comfortable that his patterns and ideas of rugby are very much in line with the Hurricanes, which is a great confidence booster. It shows that we are moving in the right direction. I think the only thing we lack as Zimbabwe is technology, which is something we are looking at.”

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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