Forrest, Anderson named North Otago co-coaches

Warren Prescott
Warren Prescott
Jason Forrest and Nick Anderson are the new North Otago Heartland coaches.

Forrest and Anderson have been appointed co-coaches, replacing Nigel Walsh who, after two years in charge, has been appointed coach of fierce rival South Canterbury.

Having spent the past two years as Old Golds assistant coach, stepping into the top job was always the goal for Forrest.

"I'm absolutely stoked. Couldn't be happier and can't wait to get my hands dirty and rip into it,'' he said.

"As a player, I've been around some really good coaches - Glenn Moore, Mike Mullins, Barry Matthews - and being assistant [coach] for the last two years with Nigel was fantastic.''

It is a year of new opportunities for Forrest, who is coaching Maheno this season after several years with Excelsior.

Forrest and Anderson have a close relationship through coaching club rugby and through their respective experiences as assistant coach of North Otago and coach of the North Otago A side in 2018.

Anderson also coached Kurow last year, his first year at the club after helping Maheno win the Citizens Shield in 2016.

He was "stoked'' to join Forrest in the top job.

"It's something I've always wanted to do ... it was just a natural progression really,'' he said.

He will continue as the Kurow coach this year.

Forrest, who works as a rugby development officer for North Otago Rugby, said he was looking forward to taking the reins with Anderson.

"He's a rugby nut, like myself - passionate about North Otago, knows how to get the best out of his players,'' he said.

Under their leadership, there would be changes.

"We need change, we haven't been winning,'' Forrest said.

"Changes around the environment, the cultures, the playing group, giving local boys more of an opportunity - both of us are on the same page with that one.

"It's about coming together, making sure that what we put in front of them they all buy into and they can perform and put pride back into the North Otago jersey - a bit of respect, bit of pride and getting the community back involved, more people along to games.''

North Otago Rugby chairman Warren Prescott said he was delighted to have Forrest and Anderson on board to "take North Otago rugby forward''.

"We had six outstanding coaches apply for the head coaching role,'' Prescott said.

"The interview panel, including Dave Perrin from New Zealand Rugby, were very impressed with the calibre of all of the applicants and this clearly demonstrates that Heartland Rugby is now seen as a coaching pathway to higher honours''.

North Otago starts its Heartland campaign against South Canterbury in Timaru on August 24.


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