Saunders joins coaching lineup

Matt Saunders
Matt Saunders
He has played for North Otago, Otago and Southland and now Matt Saunders is going to be more hands-on as the coach of the Stags.

Saunders, in his capacity as Rugby Southland’s director of rugby, will take the helm overseeing the coaching programme for the Southland side.

"I’m thrilled to be taking a more active role in the SBS Bank Southland Stags coaching setup," Saunders said in a statement.

"As we focus on developing our players, it’s equally important to develop our next generation of coaches. We have a talented group of coaches who are dedicated to nurturing our players and fostering a culture of excellence."

Continuing in his third season, James Wilson will play a pivotal role in the preparation leading up to the team’s assembly in July. His expertise and dedication are expected to be instrumental in shaping the team’s performance on the field.

"Daryl Thompson will continue his invaluable contribution as a forwards coach with a specific scrum focus," Saunders said.

"His expertise in these areas is unparalleled, and we’re fortunate to have him on board."

Former Southland lock Kane Thompson has joined the Stags coaching group.

He will have a focus on the forwards and lineout. Thompson is the forwards and defence coach of the New Orleans Gold in Major League Rugby in the United States.

"Kane’s addition to our coaching staff is a significant boost for the coaching group and team," Rugby Southland chief executive Steve Mitchell said.

"The vision of having good people with an ingrained connection to Southland lead and coach this team is key. Kane's leadership and experience will be a great addition as we all strive towards success in the upcoming season and beyond."