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Demand For World Class Rugby Tuition Grows

Demand For World Class Rugby Tuition Grows

The world’s first elite high performance rugby academy is in hot demand with rugby players and coaches travelling from all over the world to Porirua to benefit from its tuition.

The International Rugby Academy of New Zealand’s (IRANZ) targeted marketing campaign, particularly into the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States, has benefited from Industry New Zealand assistance says managing director Murray Mexted.

“The potential market for elite coaching and skills development is huge, and by working alongside an Industry New Zealand business development advisor, we’ve been able to refine our marketing approach to key offshore markets, and inquiries for our products are increasing.”

Last year the academy ran six courses and plans to run at least nine this year. It has completed four of its flagship courses, elite high performance development for coaches and players, which included participants from 10 different countries including New Zealand. The countries included Australia, South Africa, Scotland, England, Ireland, France, Japan, the United States and Mexico.

This year they are fielding applications from such diverse nations as Zambia, Korea, South America, Romania and Canada.

In addition, IRANZ offers a preparatory type school for non-professional rugby players and coaches who aspire to move into professional rugby, and one-on-one personalised courses.

Industry New Zealand business growth assistance is also helping the academy develop a range of marketing tools including marketing videos, development of the academy’s website and CD Rom-based training products.

Mr Mexted says an unexpected spin-off has been the pick-up by overseas television networks of footage of the first courses.

“We took a punt in producing television quality beta tapes of the courses we ran last year which was an expensive thing to do, but television networks in the States, Japan and the United Kingdom have played them as part of their sports programmes which is fantastic exposure for our products.”

The courses are based at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua although some will run at the New Zealand Rugby Union’s adidas facility in Palmerston North this year.

Mr Mexted says the courses endeavour to emulate a three-week rugby tour.

“They talk, eat and think about rugby solidly for the three weeks with just a short break in the middle for a ‘kiwi experience’. For many of the players, it is the first time they have been away from home, let alone been so far from their country.”

Mr Mexted says New Zealand’s distance from the biggest rugby market has its disadvantages.

“However, there is a mystique about New Zealand rugby as we’ve performed more successfully internationally than any other country in the last 100 years, which makes what we offer respected.”

Mr Mexted says the courses are also benefiting New Zealand players and coaches as each course has had at least 50% local participation.

“The cosmopolitan mix of the players and coaches on the courses creates an extraordinary competitive learning environment for all participants. The New Zealand participants are benefiting from the exposure they are getting to other elite players and coaches around the world.”

Industry New Zealand General Manager Central Region Claire Johnstone says IRANZ’s early success can be attributed to a well developed business plan and directors who are recognised nationally and internationally for their expertise not only in rugby but also in sports management.

“They have a great product with some unique teaching material and tremendous growth potential. They have also built not only on their own names but also on the fact that this country is recognised as the top rugby nation in the world. Rugby and New Zealand are synonymous.

“By working alongside an Industry New Zealand business development advisor, they have been able to access extra skills and expertise, and evolve the business faster.”

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