All Blacks coach trains Otumoetai rugby club

All Blacks coach Ian Foster put Otumoetai Barbarians through their paces. Photos. Supplied.

Otumoetai Barbarians 1st XV have made a flying start to the 2021 rugby season scoring 219 points in their first four matches and only conceding 24.

Adding further momentum to their rugby programme and giving the 1st XV a boost, the Barbarians have welcomed back All Blacks head coach Ian Foster for team training this month.

Fozzie attended a training session last year, passing on the wisdom he shares with the All Blacks to the young Barbarians men. It certainly helped in 2020, with a young side made up mainly of Year 11’s making the semi-finals of their respective competition.

“Our rugby programme is not just about on field results,” says head coach Richard Brown, who describes the session led by Foster as “exceptional”.

“We aspire to promote rugby, grow numbers, foster a love for the game, connect with our community, give back and embed life-long values into our players. Naturally, on field success is important too but our programmes are bigger than that.

“Ian was relational, engaging and humorous. Our players found him truly inspirational.  The training was watched by many students and athletes from the school as well as students from Otumoetai Intermediate.  Parents and whanau of our community were also in attendance.”

The Barbarians Advisory Committee have also held their annual, corporate fundraising event at Mount Maunganui Golf Club

Foster was joined by All Blacks and Chiefs captain Sam Cane and New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson at the event at which approximately $40,000 was raised. 

Money will go towards growing the club’s game, via their academy, hardship grants, internal tours, replacing gear, providing apparel for all players and importantly giving some back to the community.  

Some of the proceeds will also go to charity partner Good Neighbour. 

Otumoetai Barbarians Advisory Group Chairman, Pete Blackwell reflected on the start to the season and paid credit to Ian Foster’s support of the 2020 fundraiser.

“This year we have aimed to increase the profile of rugby.  Fozzie’s involvement in 2020 and the money we raised through our fundraiser, in addition to our generous sponsors, old boys Sean Lett, Dean Waddell and Mark Francis we started a Rugby Academy.  

The team and Foster form a huddle.

“We had approximately 50 students, both male and female completing, strength and conditioning training and incorporated rugby skills with specialist coaches into the programme.  

“We are fitter this year, developing our skills and knowledge of the game and working harder to develop a sustainable rugby programme.  The First XV have started well and we are building depth with our junior programme which is also encouraging.”

Instrumental in the success of the 2021 evening were, Bryce Lawrence, Pete Blackwell and Paul Geoghegan.  

“Their community connections, organisation and vision ensured for an evening of entertainment and success,” says Brown.

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