Southland Stags role fits with Mooar's passion

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 07/01/2014
Brad Mooar
FAIRFAX NZ
SOUTHERN MAN: New Stags coach Brad Mooar.

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In 2012 as a partner in an established law firm in Christchurch Brad Mooar was pretty well set as for the future.

He had locked in a career and had done pretty well for himself.

But for Mooar there was a burning passion that each day received more fuel, and it wasn't in the field of law.

That passion was for coaching rugby and that is how he wanted to make a living, even if the law sector had a lot more stability attached to it.

"You trade in the stability and security of a profession for the career path in coaching but it gets you up out of bed. It's exciting and I think the main part of that is, yes winning is massive and the win-loss record is basically what you are going to be judged on, but the whole development of young men is brilliant," the 37-year-old said yesterday.

He had coached at both club and representative level in Christchurch in a volunteer capacity and midway through 2012 he took the plunge into the big time as far as coaching goes.

Mooar accepted a job in South Africa as assistant coach to fellow Cantabrian Matt Sexton at the Southern Kings Super Rugby franchise.

He also helped coach the Eastern Province Kings to a Currie Cup division one title.

Mooar and his family enjoyed the Port Elizabeth experience and he was delighted he was provided with the opportunity to work at Super Rugby level.

However, he conceded "there were a few things going on that weren't ideal" in the Southern Kings setup and he eventually decided he would return to New Zealand and look more for more rugby opportunities in his home country.

When hesaw the Southland job come up he felt it was perfect timing for him and he put his name in the hat.

He was one of 21 applicants with that number reduced to eight for the interview stage before Mooar was picked out as the best person for the job.

Mooar will fill a new role as director of coaching which includes the Stags head coach's position. Part of his role will also centre on developing other coaches within Southland, both at age-group representative level and premier club coaches.

Rugby Southland board member Grant Dermody felt Mooar was the ideal fit.

"He brings not only that on field stuff we were looking for with his knowledge and skills of rugby, but his off-field skills from his professional background as a solicitor, the organisational and developmental stuff, that from the interview process, is what made him stand out," Dermody said.

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"Brad as a Stags coach is about developing the player component, but as director of coaching, that is about developing our coaching stocks and that's really important because players come and go but coaches generally stay."

"Our view is we a drowning in talent, the under-18s have won the [South Island] competition twice and our under-16s do pretty well and it's about bringing that talent through.

"So we think it's about developing our coaching resources and utilising those skills Brad has," Dermody added.

"The guys I've been talking to are really positive and are looking forward to a different phase in our rugby history so I think there is a fair bit of excitement out there."

Mooar said he did not get to see a lot of Southland in action last season but has all the stats and game footage which he plans to work through.

"I've been looking through stats just to see if I can see any trends and where things might be at, but certainly I'll looking through the games. A massive part will be relationship building and asking a lot of questions and getting opinions and then working it out for myself," Mooar said.

"Talent is going to be a big factor. The under-18 team has won the South Island tournament, well, doesn't that auger well for the Stags in two, three years time, when we can bring those sorts of players through for an opportunity?

"Some of them will come in earlier and some will develop later, but I wouldn't expect there will be shortage of talent. I think perhaps the challenge is to show that there is that path here for them to show that talent and become a professional rugby player."

Mooar says he is coming to a province where he knows no-one. The limited Southland connection he has is he knows Chris King well. He played 50-plus games for Southland, and he also knows former Southland captain Corey Flynn who now resides in Christchurch.

Mooar was in Invercargill yesterday for a quick day trip to meet with various people.

He and his family will move south from Christchurch later this month.

Who is Brad Mooar?

Like many kids in the Christchurch area Mooar's love of rugby started at a young age. As a first five-eighth he progressed through the Canterbury age-group grades and on to Canterbury B. But in his own words he "ran into some traffic" eluding to the fact a certain Andrew Mehrtens had a mortgage on the Canterbury No 10 jersey.

Mooar opted to head down the road to Ashburton where he played three seasons in 1997, 1998 and 1999 for Mid Canterbury which included helping them win the NPC third division in 1998.

Soon after that he headed overseas before returning to Christchurch where in 2006 he took some steps into coaching.

He started with the Christchurch Rugby Club's colts team before being moved up to the club's premier team where he was in charge from 2007 to 2011.

In 2012 he headed to South Africa to join fellow Cantabrian Matt Sexton at the Southern Kings Super Rugby setup as assistant coach.

He returned to New Zealand in 2013 and successfully applied for the director of coaching and Stags head coaches job at Rugby Southland .

The 37-year-old is married to Anna and has three children aged 5, 6 and 7.

- Fairfax Media

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