Phillips uses rugby skills in change of focus

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 04/07/2014

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Taranaki Rugby development manager Jono Phillips has resigned to follow business interests overseas.

Phillips left his position at the union last Friday. He follows operations manager Derek Dingle, who left late last month after he was not appointed to a new role following an internal restructure.

"It has been something that has been in the pipeline for a while," Phillips said yesterday.

"I've set up a global organisation that involves a software programme that aligns to HR [human resources] development of employees. It's based on things I've learnt in rugby and hopefully I can turn those skills into the corporate side."

Phillips joined Taranaki Rugby two years ago having left the Hurricanes where he was the Super Rugby franchise's high performance manager. His main role was with the union's academy, while he was also involved as an attack coach for Taranaki during last year's national provincial championship campaign.

Although he would still be based in New Plymouth, Phillips said the overseas business interests were in the United States and Cyprus.

"There is never a good time to leave but after 20 years of rugby, she's going to be a change, that's for sure."

Phillips said he planned to spend the next year working on his new business before redressing his options when it came to getting back into rugby.

"I'll still be doing a lot of mentoring for players and there are a lot of boys based at the Hurricanes and here who are after that sort of thing."

Taranaki Rugby chief executive Michael Collins said Phillips' position had be taken up internally on two fronts.

Adam Hay, who has a teaching background in Hong Kong and specialises in strength and conditioning, has been appointed as the union's academy manager, while Willie Rickards will focus on skills coaching and talent identification.

Rickards will also have a hands on role with the NPC squad.

Collins said there was no correlation between Dingle and Phillips' departures from the union.

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