St.George Queensland Reds Forwards Coach Nick Stiles will have the opportunity to defend the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) title after being named McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City Head Coach for a second season, while Reds Under-20s Head Coach Jason Gilmore will be in charge of Bond University Queensland Country.
Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) last year announced it would field two teams in the NRC as an important piece in its talent identification, recruitment and development – as part of its pathway and high-performance strategy.
Brisbane City claimed the inaugural NRC title in 2014 under the tutelage of Stiles, while Queensland Country finished the season with just two wins but made positive steps in exposing regional players and fans to elite-level Rugby.
Stiles has just recently been announced as having re-signed with Queensland Rugby as a senior assistant coach until 2018. Many of the forwards under his guidance as Brisbane City head coach have gone on to make their Super Rugby debuts this season, including hooker Andrew Ready, prop Sam Talakai and flanker Adam Korczyk.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to follow up on the success we had last season,” Stiles said.
“We set up a strong culture in Brisbane City and I’m excited to see how we can continue to grow that identity among our players and fans this season.
“The NRC is a good competition and we’ve already seen the benefit for a number of our younger players who came through that program and into Super Rugby this year. It’s an exciting challenge for the younger players, but also a good challenge for us as coaches to further test ourselves and improve. Everyone at the Reds has been disappointed with how this season has unfolded, but the NRC gives us an opportunity to look forward and build to the 2016 Super Rugby season.”
Gilmore, originally from the Gold Coast, is in his first year as head coach of the Reds Under-20s, which last month saw 10 players named in the Australian Under-20s squad for the World Rugby U20 Trophy. His previous experience includes head coach of the Queensland Under-19s side which won the Trans-Tasman Trophy in 2007, assistant coach of the Souths Premier Grade side which were finalists in 2009 and assistant coach of the Australian Under-20s in 2010. Prior to joining the Reds, Gilmore steered Anglican Church Grammar School to an undefeated GPS title in 2014.
“This is an exciting opportunity for myself, but also a big responsibility and an honour to represent the Queensland Country regions,” Gilmore said.
“If you look at the opportunities presented to young players within the Reds program this year, the NRC provided a genuine pathway to that next tier. Our task is to ensure they’re ready for the next step in their development when that opportunity comes around.”
Now entering its second year, the NRC is a domestic Rugby competition featuring nine teams. It has been designed to give players another link in their development pathway towards Super Rugby and ultimately Wallabies selection. Following the 2014 season, 11 Queensland NRC players received Elite Development Squad contracts with the Reds for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
The Brisbane City and Queensland Country squads will once again feature members from the current Reds squad, while also drawing from Queensland Premier Rugby and Country Rugby competitions.
As the two teams form part of Queensland Rugby’s pathway model, staffing roles within the team will also be filled from Queensland’s club Rugby ranks, including assistant coaches, analysts, physiotherapists, doctors, managers and strength and conditioning assistants.
Queensland Rugby will be accepting applications for the above roles within the two teams. More information will be made available in the coming days.
Further information regarding the makeup of Queensland’s NRC squads and the schedule for the 2015 season will be announced in the coming months.