Rugby: Jeff Wilson to coach North Harbour

Former All Blacks Jeff Wilson and Craig Dowd will be North Harbour's coaches for next season's Air NZ Cup rugby championship.

North Harbour Rugby Union announced today Dowd, capped 67 times at prop for the All Blacks, will be head coach and Wilson, who played 74 internationals, will be his assistant.

Dowd succeeds Wayne Pivac who stepped down at the end of this season with Harbour finishing 12th after notching just three wins from 10 games.

"I am really looking forward to the challenge. We have some good players and very exciting young talent coming through the grades," Dowd said.

On Wilson, Dowd said: "I am also very excited about working alongside Jeff Wilson, who has impressed lots of very experienced rugby people including myself with his coaching style, passion and delivery."

Twenty-four coaches applied for the position and eight made the final interview process. "Craig and J

eff are exciting appointments for North Harbour rugby as we focus on rebuilding from a disappointing 2008 Air NZ Cup campaign," chief executive Brett Hollister said.

"I am confident that Craig and Jeff will create an inspiring environment that will allow us to achieve our potential."

Dowd is rugby development manager at the union while Wilson is attached to the International Rugby Academy, New Zealand.