Hosea Gear with partner Kate Yates and their children
Kaden-Ray (17 months) and Kaliyah (6). Photo by Lucy
Family is the focus of a Highlanders training camp in
Wanaka this week, as part of coach Jamie Joseph's strategy of
including players' partners and children in the team
environment to improve performance on the field.
The Highlanders squad and their families arrived in Wanaka on
Monday for several days of training and leisure activities
before their pre-season game against the Blues in Queenstown
on Friday evening.
Yesterday, following an early morning training session, the
group was hosted at Eely Point by several Upper Clutha Rugby
Club representatives for an afternoon of boating and other
watersports on Lake Wanaka.
''We've done our rugby for the day and this is about the
families enjoying themselves and getting a bit of quality
time in the bank before the season starts as much as
anything,'' team manager Graham Purvis said.
The group includes more than 40 children, who will be looked
after by the players following their training session today,
while the women do a tour of local wineries. Other Wanaka
attractions on the Highlanders' itinerary this week include
Puzzling World, the National Transport and Toy Museum and
Have a Shot.
Joseph's family inclusiveness approach was implemented when
he first joined the Highlanders in 2011, Purvis said.
''That's really what sets the Highlanders apart from many of
the franchises I suppose, and it's been a real attraction.
''We have quite a big family component to our group so
clearly it's important that they're involved in the role of
being part of a Super Rugby player's life as well.''
Joseph said including players' families was a natural way to
build a cohesive team.
''When I first came to the job there wasn't a lot of local
talent contracted ... the players that came in came from all
over the country,'' Joseph said.
''You can come into it and you can play professional rugby,
but if the families aren't happy or don't feel part of the
community then it tends to reflect in the performance of the
''It costs us a lot of money [to bring the families on
training camps] but we make sacrifices in other areas because
we just find this is really important.''
He said Wanaka was favoured for the annual training camp as
it was less commercial than Queenstown.
''The thing about Queenstown, I love it, but to try and ...
create what we want to do out of the camp, which is be
together, Queenstown's a little bit easier to do your own
thing, if you wanted to. There's a lot more distractions,
whereas here [Wanaka], particularly for kids, it's ideal.''