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So'oialo joins Lions coaching staff

16 June 2017

FRIDAY 16 June 2017

Former All Blacks captain Rodney So’oialo has joined the Wellington Lions coaching staff.

The 62 test All Black loose forward will be the Lions forwards coach during the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup working under new head coach Chris Gibbes and his assistant Andre Bell.

So’oialo brings local knowledge and tradition to the Lions coaching team having represented Wellington 64 times during his playing career.

“Wellington has always held a special place in my heart and it’s a privilege to be able to come back as a coach and make another contribution,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to working with Chris and Andre and instilling some of the traditions and standards I valued during my time as a player.”

Born in Samoa, the father of four was raised in Wellington where he attended Mana College before representing the Western Suburbs club.

He made his Wellington debut against Taranaki in 2000, played 101 matches for the Hurricanes, and represented the All Blacks in 63 games, including five as captain, after making his test debut against Wales in Cardiff in 2002.

In 2011, So'oialo signed for the Honda Heat in Japan where he dipped his toes into a career in coaching and since then he has been carefully learning his new trade from the ground up.

His coaching education has included the Premier teams at the Petone, Wellington and Tawa clubs, as well as working with Wellington College, the Wellington Under-16, Under 18, Samoan and Development teams.

“I felt like it was very important to lay a solid foundation and take things one step at a time. I feel like it’s the right time to move up to the next level now and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. We have some great young talent coming through in Wellington.

“I’ve been very lucky to work under some great coaches over the years and hopefully I can share some of that knowledge with the next generation of players.”

Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes said So’oialo would be a valuable asset for the province.

“Rodney’s playing career speaks for itself and he holds a lot of mana in Wellington. We share a similar philosophy on how the game should be played and the standards we expect and I can’t wait to get stuck into the 2017 campaign.”

Fact File

Rodney So’oialo
Age: 37
Educated: Mana College
Club: Western Suburbs
Playing career:
All Blacks: 62 tests (63 games) – 2002-09 (5 as captain)
NZ Sevens: 2001 World Cup winner, 2002 Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist
Wellington: 64 games – 2000-2010
Hurricanes: 101 games – 2001-2011
Coaching career: Honda Heat, Petone, Tawa, Wellington Axemen, Wellington Samoans, Wellington Lions