SUFC are excited to officially announce the full time Coaching team for the 2021 season who will be joining the off-field staff of Executive General Manager, David Haigh and Events Manager, Kirsty Stevens.
SUFC have been working behind the scenes to ensure the Club has the right balance of coaches and administration staff to take the Club forward into the future. We believe this team has just that, read more about them all below:
Head Coach – Robert Taylor
Dual Shute Shield Premiership and Australian Club Championship winning Coach, Robert Taylor returns to SUFC for his second stint in the top job.
Having left the Club in June this year to pursue a coaching role with English Premiership side, Leicester Tigers, Rob re-joins the Students for the 2021 season. Rob decided to return to continue his coaching ambitions in Australia, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge from the Northern Hemisphere to share with players and coaches alike.
Rob said "I’m really excited to return to SUFC and to share my experience and knowledge I have learnt from the toughest rugby competition in the world with the coaches and players at SUFC.”
As Head Coach, Rob will lead the collaboration of all coaching staff to deliver a sustainable high-performance rugby program.
Head of High-Performance – Michael Hodge
Michael who previously held the role of Director of Rugby will step up into a newly created position of Head of High Performance.
The role will focus on the development of our 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 1st Colts squads, including game previews & reviews which will help players achieve their individual and team objectives. In addition, Michael will also be the Head Coach of 1st Colts. Similarly, to Rob before him, SUFC view the 1st Colts Head Coaching role as critical to the Club’s long-term success, but it will also allow Michael to learn and develop further as a coach under the guidance of Rob.
During the 2020 season, Michael did a great job to juggle the Co-Head Coach responsibilities while also maintaining his Director of Rugby role, covering all aspects of the Club’s rugby program.
Director of Rugby – Nick Ryan
Like Rob, Nick Ryan also returns to Sydney Uni in 2021 as the Director of Rugby with immediate effect. Nick previously was the General Manager - Professional Rugby and Pathways at the Melbourne Rebels from 2017-20.
During his initial stint with SUFC from 2002-09, he was appointed as SUFC’s first full time Colts Director.
Nick has a wealth of experience in the University and High-Performance area from his roles as Director of Rugby at Harvard University from 2003-06 as well as Head Coach of Australian University Rugby from 2008-12.
Nick has a track record of establishing and growing rugby programs, he has an eye for talent, strong relationships in Australian and international rugby and has a fine reputation for implementing quality rugby programs. Nick will work closely with the coaches to ensure we have the best rugby program in place that flows across all teams at the Club and into our junior programs, including recruitment, performance systems and partnerships to drive current and future club success.
Director of Women’s Rugby and Junior Development – Chris Delooze
After a stellar first season, Chris Delooze remains in his role as Director of Women’s Rugby and Junior Development for a second year. Starting any new job is challenging; being the first person to fulfil a brand-new position is even more so.
In a short amount of time Chris has developed the Women’s program enormously, including introducing a second team for the first time as well as securing the third consecutive Jack Scott Cup title and growing the 7s program. Our junior’s program has also come on leaps and bounds, the awareness of the game and of SUFC is growing in our district under Chris’ guidance.
As a key contributor to our long-term recruitment plan, Chris will lead on the development and implementation of our communities and pathway programs to ensure there is a clear pathway to the SUFC senior teams for our aspiring junior players, in addition to continuing as Head Coach of 1st Women.
Executive General Manager, David Haigh
David who has been involved with SUFC since 2002, continues his role as Executive General Manager for another season. Dave will continue to focus on the long-term future and viability of our club, including managing the Club’s stakeholders, financials, NSWRU competition requirements, securing sponsors and negotiating the Club’s medical program, as well as providing support and guidance to the SUFC staff.
Events Manager, Kirsty Stevens
Like David, Kirsty remains in her role as Events Manager and completes the full-time staffing team for 2021. Kirsty’s role covers the more day-to-day operations of the Club, from match day operations to organising and running club functions, communication and marketing, stakeholder engagement and player administration.
With six highly qualified fulltime staff on board, SUFC are excited to see the heights this group can reach to ensure SUFC remain the benchmark Club for Australian rugby.
President David Lyons expressed his delight with the announcement, “I am extremely pleased with the group we have in place to lead the Club going forward, each staff member has a wealth of knowledge in their specific area and importantly all have a great understanding of how the Club operates and the rich history associated with it. I strongly believe we are in a great position to continue to provide the best rugby program in Australia for aspiring men and women both on and off the field.”
SUFC will finalise the remaining coaching and on-field positions over the coming weeks.