Super Rugby Pacific: Highlanders recruit Chris Boyd in mentoring role for their coaching staff

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

The Highlanders have announced that they have appointed experienced coach Chris Boyd to their backroom staff to serve as a coaching mentor in 2023.

The 64-year-old, who was Premiership outfit Northampton Saints’ director of rugby from 2018 to 2022, will join the Dunedin-based franchise with the aim of guiding new head coach Clarke Dermody and rest of their coaching team during next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

Chief executive Roger Clark feels Boyd‘s appointment will add value to the Highlanders.

Experienced coach

“The teams that Chris has been involved with are known for their attacking ability and he is an excellent communicator at all levels,” he told the Highlanders’ official website.

“His vast experience will be a great influence for Clarke and his coaching group. We are fortunate to have a coach of Chris Boyd’s stature to fill the role of coaching mentor which in the past has been done on an informal basis by another outstanding coach, Tony Gilbert.”

Boyd has an extensive coaching CV as he has coached at every level of the game from club to country. He spent close to a decade coaching at Wellington club Tawa before moving on to the Wellington National Provincial Championship (NPC) team. After that, he moved to the Durban-based Sharks in Super Rugby where worked as an assistant coach in 2009 and 2010.

When he returned to New Zealand he assisted Tonga at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and also served as head coach for Wellington in the NPC and the New Zealand U20s team.

Boyd became the Hurricanes’ head coach in 2015 and steered his team to that year’s Super Rugby final which they lost to the Highlanders.

He continued his coaching journey with the Hurricanes and the following year they reached the Super Rugby final again and won the title by beating the Lions.

During his stint at Northampton Saints he achieved immediate success in the 2018/19 season by winning the Premiership Rugby Cup and he guided Saints to the Premiership play-offs during that season.

Four years later, Boyd led the Saints to another Premiership play-off which they narrowly lost to eventual winners Leicester Tigers.

Dermody is keen to work with Boyd in the build-up to next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

“I knew from the moment I accepted the head coach role I wanted to surround myself with as many quality people as I could. In terms of quality, you don’t get much better than Chris,” he said.

His experience and abilities are obvious in what he has already achieved in rugby, and I’m delighted he has come on board for 2023, to have his support in my first year as head coach of the Highlanders is outstanding.”

Looking forward to the challenge

Boyd is excited to impart his extensive rugby knowledge and work alongside Dermody and the rest of his coaching staff.

“Clarke is a good man and an impressive coach with a willingness to learn,” he said.

“There aren’t many people who understand the Highlander’s DNA better than Clarke, having played and coached for the club. My role will be about listening to the coaching group and working out where I can add value.

“I believe my relationships with the Highlanders and Northampton Saints, will be mutually beneficial. With a foot in both hemispheres, I hope I can add value to both clubs by sharing best practice, exchanging ideas, and identifying new trends.”

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