Grant Henson has been named as the new Director of Rugby at Pakuranga United Rugby Club.
He replaces former All Black and PURC Prems coach Pita Alatini who left the club on January 22. He has gone to Pacific social change agency The Cause Collective as a systems innovator.
Henson joins the club with an extensive playing and coaching history south of the Bombays.
The Counties Manukau centurion was a stalwart in the black, white and red jersey playing for 14 provincial seasons.
As a coach, Henson has been involved in campaigns with the Chiefs age group and development sides, Manu Samoa and seven years as part of the coaching team for the Counties Manukau Steelers.
Until joining the club this week, Henson was employed by Counties Manukau as a coach development manager.
PURC general manager John East said Henson, also known as Boof, was a standout candidate and brought experience and passion to the role. “We are looking forward to Boof joining the Pakuranga family,” said East.
“His background speaks for itself, he is an excellent rugby man and we are excited to see what he will achieve.”
East said the key areas of focus for Henson will be the retention and recruitment of players, developing the club’s girls and women’s rugby strategy and upskilling club coaches.
“We have some of the groundwork in place for this work that Pita did so well in his time with the club.
“Boof will look to build on that great work which will serve our rugby community and continue to strengthen the club.
Henson said he is excited about immersing himself in the Pakuranga culture around the club in the next 12 months.
“Developing the girls and coaching programmes will be at the forefront of my activities moving forward,” Henson said.
Henson has three pillars of key focus
Coach the Coaches – PURC has in excess of 40 Junior teams who are coached by enthusiastic parents. We are looking for Grant to provide NZR accredited coaching programme(s) to assist in the development of not only the children but also to coaches and managers who support them
Girls/Women’s Rugby Programmes – Girls/women’s rugby is the fastest growing segment of the game. Grant will be responsible for co-ordinating a grassroots programme to support or girls programme at PURC. We are adopting a juniors up strategy, i.e. the establishment of a junior programme that will organically grow through to the girls ultimately playing women’s-only rugby at a senior club level.
Recruitment and retention – PURC has traditionally been a rugby factory for players from nursery to U13s where they then leave to play at high school. Our challenge has always been getting them back when they leave school. Grants role will be to work within the local schools, provide support and coaching resources to ensure that when they leave school then come back to the club but just as importantly stay in rugby.
Head Coach: John Clough
Assistant Coach: Sio Taimalietane
Assistant Coach: Aula Silipa
Manager: Ken Johns