The Southland Stags have a new head coach.
In a low-key announcement last night Rugby Southland, through an email statement, confirmed Brad Mooar would take on the position of Director of Rugby at Rugby Southland, which also includes the Stags head coaching role.
Mooar will replace David Henderson, who has been in the role since 2005. Henderson wanted to continue in the position but was overlooked after Rugby Southland opted to advertise the position following the 2013 season.
Mooar's most prominent role to date has been with the Southern Kings Super Rugby side as their assistant coach to Matt Sexton.
He coached the Christchurch club's premier team from 2007 to 2011. In 2012 he helped coach the Eastern Province Kings to a Currie Cup Division 1 title before continuing his role with the Southern Kings in Super Rugby in 2013.
Mooar is expected to be in Invercargill on January 6 to meet Rugby Southland staff and other key people.
The appointment panel for the Stags coaching position included two members of the board, All Blacks assistant coach Aussie McLean and Southland Basketball Association and Southland Sharks general manager Jill Bolger.
Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley said last night the panel was impressed with Mooar through he interview process.
He also paid tribute to David Henderson for what he had done for the organisation and hoped he would remain involved with coaching in Southland.
Henderson was advised yesterday of Mooar's appointment and when he spoke with The Southland Times last night he said the news was "still pretty raw."
However he threw his support behind Mooar and hoped Southland would also get in behind the new coach.
"Look, I'm disappointed but I respect their decision," Henderson said. "I've been here in this role I think for eight years. I'm gutted to hear the news today but they've got to do what they think is right for Rugby Southland and in the end of the day it's not about me; it's about what's best for the Stags."
Henderson felt it was too early yesterday to start reflecting on his era in the hot seat as he took time to take in the news.
He did acknowledge the role of Stags coach came with plenty of challenges, given resource constraints and the player pool.
"It's a hard role. It doesn't matter which coaching role it is, you're in the firing line and things haven't been that easy with Southland rugby over the past two or three years but I wish him all the best and hopefully Southland gets in behind him."
Henderson hinted his time coaching wasn't over and he would take some time to assess his options.
"I do want to stay involved with coaching. I'm not sure whether it will be with Southland or not but I have got an interest and passion for coaching. We'll just have to see what happens over the next couple of years. I've also got a business that is starting to build nicely too so I want to carry on with that. But you never say never."
- The Southland Times
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