Robert joined SUFC at the start of the 2016 Season as the Rugby Performance Manager and Colts Head Coach. Under Rob’s guidance 1st Colts won 42 games straight and the Colts group won back-to-back Colts Club Championships and four out of the six available premierships between them in that time. In 2018, his first year as Head Coach, SUFC retained the Club Championship for a record 15th consecutive year and 1st Grade won the Shute Shield Premiership for the 1st time since 2013. The team held the best record for both defence and attack and picked up a number of other trophies throughout the year. In his fourth season with the Students, Robert led 1st Grade to back-to-back Premierships, the Club featured in six Grand Finals, winning five titles as well as the 16th straight Club Championship title.
He joined the Students from Auckland University Rugby Football Club (AURFC) in New Zealand, where over a period of seven years he played and held a number of positions at the club; Director of Rugby, ARFU Delegate and Coach.
In 2011, he lead a new strategic plan as the Director of Rugby to rejuvenate the Club after slumping period of performances. In that first year the Club Premier (1st Grade) team reached the Gallaher Shield final, which served as catalyst for significant growth across the club for the next few years. The Club went on to boast the highest number of Senior teams and players, grade championships, a club championship, dramatic rise in representative players, creation of John Drake Memorial Scholarship and a reconnected relationship with the University of Auckland and alumni.
He coached the Clubs Under 21s (Colts) to a minor premiership and championship in his first year, then took the bottom dweller Reserves (2nd Grade) team to within a point of making a final appearance. He left the club and Director of Rugby Role at the end of 2012 to take up a commercial interest with POWA and Rhino Rugby in New Zealand with a core component of the role to promote, develop and coach with specialist training equipment for all levels of the game globally and in New Zealand from All Blacks to High Schools. This role was two years, of working alongside some of the sharpest brains in the game as to how the training aids could maximize performance and ensure high levels of safety.
He then returned to AURFC for the 2014 season as part of the Premier coaching team who went onto break the 17 year drought by winning the Minor Premiership and a Gallaher Shield (1st Grade Championship) and went close to going back to back in 2015, losing in a the final.
During this time, he coached Auckland age group teams and Auckland B team. Completed IRB level 3 and IRANZ certificates.
As a player, he came through the ranks in the Wellington & Hurricane province with the likes of Jerry Collins and Rodney So’oailo. Upon a serious injury, he diverted his attention to coaching and player development. Through his own initiative created and managed a Scottish Rugby high performance programme called the Sir John Macphail Scholarship, which produced four International capped Scottish players in 15s and 7s in its first few years of running, which in turn expanded in overseeing other high performance rugby athletes from the Northern Hemisphere to be mentored and tutored in New Zealand. This programme still runs today and is overlooked by the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby.
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