Waratahs announce GM of Rugby and Forwards Coach

· Super Rugby - AU
by Waratahs Media

NSW Rugby has announced two key additions to their High-Performance staff, appointing Andrew Blades as General Manager of Rugby and Pauli Taumoepeau as the Waratah’s Forwards Coach.

The appointments now finalise the Waratah’s coaching list and is another step forward in the Reset campaign for 2022.

NSW Waratahs CEO Paul Doorn says that bringing two highly qualified coaches into the organisation, both with a background in the Shute Shield, is another way of reconnecting the Waratahs to grassroots rugby and building a high calibre coaching roster.

“Andrew and Pauli are both fantastic additions to NSW Rugby and bring a unique mix of experience and knowledge to our organisation from a playing and management perspective,” Doorn said.

“Both have a deep and specialised understanding of rugby and Andrew’s international experience and Pauli’s success in coaching and player development adds depth to the Waratah’s program. Both are a product of the Shute Shield and it again shows that the competition produces quality coaches.”

Widely regarded as a technically gifted tighthead prop, Blades played at Gordon in the Shute Shield and was capped 49 times for the Waratahs. 

Blades played 32 Tests for the Wallabies in a career spanning from 1992 to 1999. His final Test was the Rugby World Cup Final victory over France.

After retiring, Blades developed his extensive knowledge of rugby over ten years, coaching initially with the Newcastle Falcons in England and in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition.

The former Test prop’s knowledge of scrummaging and front row technique led to his appointment as the Wallaby forwards coach in 2004 and again from 2012 to 2015.

His management experience developed as the General Manager of the NSW Country Eagles in the NRC and in his current role as Head of Rugby at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill.

Blades will bring his experience in the development and management of high-performance programs to elite youth pathways and to supporting the senior divisions of rugby in NSW.

The former World Cup winner says he is thrilled to be able to return to the Waratah’s and take a hands-on role in a critical time for the organisation. 

“I’m very privileged to get the opportunity to return to NSW Rugby and to play a role in helping the organisation implement performance strategies with the aim of long-term success for the Waratahs and its high-performance programs,” Blades said.

“NSW Rugby union holds a special place in my heart, so this is an ideal opportunity to come full circle and back home to the organisation.

“My experience in the NSW Rugby landscape will help me develop strategies to improve our player pathways and I’m looking forward to working with the coaching staff and the high-performance team to bring success to the Waratahs and the NSW Rugby Union.”

Pauli Taumoepeau, the current Director of Rugby and 1st Grade Head Coach at Eastern Suburbs, will join the Waratah coaching staff as the forward’s coach. 

Taumoepeau began coaching at Eastern Suburbs in 2014 after injury ended his playing days as a loose forward for Sydney University and Eastern Suburbs.
His coaching career began with his appointment as Director and Head Coach of Colts and was promoted to be the club’s Director of Rugby and 1st Grade Head Coach in 2018.

“I’m really excited to join the Waratahs and be a part of Darren Coleman’s coaching team and can’t wait to get stuck in and have a positive influence on the group,” Taumoepeau said.

“The Waratahs were the first team I supported growing up and all my heroes wore the famous Sky-Blue, so this role has a real emotional connection for me.  It’s an incredibly proud moment for myself and my family.

“There is a lot of talent in the squad, and I can’t wait to get to work alongside DC, Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore to help bring some confidence back to the side through a lot of hard work.”

Waratahs Head Coach Darren Coleman was full of praise for his new forward’s coach.

“Pauli was a highly talented young player whose career was cut short, and he turned his hand to coaching at a young age,” Coleman said.

“He’s shown consistency in developing the teams and players he’s coached and had great success with the programs he ran in both Easts Colts and 1st Grade, never missing the finals.

“He’s a student of the game and improved his technical knowledge quickly and has great potential to grow with the playing group.

“I have worked alongside him during my time at Easts and the Country Eagles in the NRC and he understands how I like my teams to be prepared and we are strongly aligned on the culture we want to install at the Waratahs.”

NSW Waratahs 2021 Super Rugby Coaching Staff:

Head Coach: Darren Coleman
Assistant (Attack): Chris Whitaker
Assistant (Forwards): Pauli Taumoepeau
Assistant (Defence): Jason Gilmore