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Junior teams staff named

Junior teams staff named

Previous Junior Kiwis assistant coach Kelvin Wright will step into the lead role for the age-group side’s showdown with the Junior Kangaroos next month on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The Junior Warriors coach replaces Brent Gemmell, who begins his role as NZ Rugby League high performance general manager next week.

Wright, who enjoyed an outstanding club and representative career as a player with Mt Albert and Auckland, has made a steady rise up the coaching ranks over the past 12 months, helping Kiwis legend Stacey Jones guide the Junior Warriors to the NRL National Youth Competition title last year.

After supporting Gemmell in last year’s junior international, Wight also joined the NZ Kiwis senior staff for the Four Nations. In the space of a few weeks, he had assisted on three winning campaigns – Junior Warriors, Junior Kiwis and Kiwis.

This time around, he will be assisted by Ezra Howe, with a staff that includes former Kiwis great Quentin Pongia as assistant trainer.

In other 2015 national age-group appointments, Rod Ratu of Counties Manukau will oversee the NZ 18s for their two-game series against Australian Schools in September/October, while Upper Central’s Moehewa Armstrong takes the reins of the NZ 16s.

Ratu coached the Counties Manukau Stingrays in last year’s NZRL Pirtek National Premiership and has worked with the Warriors development programme.

Armstrong has been part of the national programme for three years, assisting with the NZ18s for the past two and also the Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions in last year’s national premiership.

Full national age-group staff appointments are:

Junior Kiwis

Head coach
Kelvin Wright (NZ Warriors)
Assistant coach
Ezra Howe (Canberra Raiders)
Carmen Taplin (NZ Warriors)
Dayne Norton (NZ Warriors)
Quentin Pongia
Simon Keepa


Head coach
Rod Ratu (Counties Manukau)
Assistant coach
Andrew Auimatagi (Southern)
Elizabeth Richards (Akarana)
Greg Davis (Mid Central)
Junior Mautairi (Counties Manukau)

Head coach Moehewa Armstrong (Upper Central)
Assistant coach Peter Butler (Mid Central)
Manager Teaukura Moetaua (Southern)
Trainers Jon Renes (Northland)
Ian Blake (Southern)


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