Two of New Plymouth Boys' High School's recent high profile old boys will be at the helm of the first XV next year.
Former Hurricanes and Crusaders fullback Daryl Lilley has taken over as head coach while former New Zealand Maori, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Cardiff Blues lock Paul Tito will assist with the forwards alongside returning coach Glen Hannah.
The trio saw off a number of other candidates for the roles.
"As coaches, I think we've all got different strengths," Lilley said. "Our aim is to combine all those strengths together to make it work."
Lilley has given up coaching Southern in the Taranaki senior A competition to take up the position at his former school where he is also the director of rugby.
Former Taranaki reps Willie Rickards and Brendan Haami will take over the coaching reins at Southern.
After a disappointing 2011, Boys' High improved markedly in most aspects of their play this season, despite finishing seventh after three wins in the Super 8 competition.
"We still felt we had a reasonably successful year and we want to build from there," Lilley said. "Our vision is to build a good culture of hard working players, build them for the future and develop their game as much as we can."
Hannah expects the nucleus of this year's pack to return in 2013, including New Zealand schools prop Reuben O'Neill.
While Tito said his role was an advisory one when time permitted, he was looking forward to providing input to a side that was close to his heart.
"I won't be here at every training but I'll be helping out whenever I can because this is a special place for me."
Tito's professional playing career ended this year after a stint in Cardiff.
His transition to coaching was, as expected, taking a bit of time to get used to.
Taranaki head coach Colin Cooper had already called on his services at different times during the National Provincial Championship.
"When you are with the A team it's just a case of tweaking a few things because they are at the same level I was," he said. "When you step back to school level you really have to show them the direction, especially tactically.
"It's a balancing act and I'm sure I'll come unstuck at some stage, so it's good to have these two guys here as well."
An expanded squad of 50 players are already training and on pre-season programmes as Lilley works towards his goal of Boys' High finishing in the top three of the Super 8.
"We've decided to make the boys work harder, give them more sessions and to be up with the top schools, we need to do that," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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