Tai McIsaac has taken the reins at the Spirit for 2015 (Image: Getty)
Former Perth Spirit hooker Tai McIsaac has been appointed head coach of the Perth Spirit for the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), alongside returning assistant coaches Dwayne Nestor and Elwee Prinsloo.
It’s been eight years since McIsaac has been involved with the Perth Spirit, having been vice captain of the side that made it to the semi-final in the Buildcorp NRC’s predecessor, the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) in 2007.
Having played with the Spirit and 52 caps with the Western Force, McIssac moved to Japan, where he coached with the Honda Heat and the Toyota Industry Shuttles until 2014. He then returned to the West for the 2015 season to take up the role as the Future Force Foundation Head Coach and as a lineout consultant with the Force.
“I’m really excited about being involved with the Perth Spirit again,” he said. “Having been a player with the team and now having the opportunity to take on a coaching role like this is a great honour, but a big responsibility to build on what the team did last year.”
Dwayne Nestor continues his role as assistant coach having also fulfilled his role as RugbyWA Junior Elite Coach that saw him develop players like Dane Haylett-Petty, Kyle Godwin, Luke Burton and Kane Koteka.
Former Palmyra and Wanneroo head coach Elwee Prinsloo, returns for another season with the Spirit having previously been involved in the State Under 16’s, WA Schoolboys, State Under 19’s, State Under 20’s as well as Force A.
“Dwayne and Elwee are fantastic coaches in their own right,” McIsaac said. “Both of them already have such great knowledge and relationships with both our Western Force and Pindan Premier Grade players and I look forward to taking on this challenge with them at my side.”
‘Taipan’ believes that the Buildcorp NRC is vital to the future health of Australian rugby.
“It was an exciting time playing in the ARC in 2007, as it gave a whole group of young guys an opportunity to put their mark on rugby and find their way into Super Rugby.
“That’s one of the attractions of the competition, not only giving extra playing opportunities to our Force players but importantly giving our younger players a great opportunity to try and take that next step into Super Rugby.”
With the team finishing runner-up in the competition last year, McIsaac would love to see his team claim the title in 2015.
“We obviously want to go one better this year, and I think with the amount of talent we have to choose from, we definitely have the potential to do that.
“It’s important that we manage the squad well throughout the competition and are up for every challenge that we are presented with.”