Reds back rookie coaches for 2017

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Their playing group will be stacked with experience in 2017, but the Reds are backing a group of untested locals to steer the side next season.

Head coach Nick Stiles has added Queensland U20s coach Jason Gilmore as its defence coach, with former Brisbane City assistant Shane Arnold leading the attack.

 Queensland Country head coach Jason Gilmore. Photo: Reds RugbyBoth Gilmore and Arnold ave been part of the Premier grade and Queensland’s GPS  as head coaches in the past, though have not been involved at Super Rugby level.

National skills coach Mick Byrne, who is based at Ballymore, will have a regular involvement with the franchise, also helping mentor the side’s coaches.

Gilmore’s elevation has opened the door for Brad Thorn to step into the U20s job for next year, as well as acting as a contact coach.

Thorn was the forwards coach of the champion Queensland U20s in the Super U20s this season, before making a remarkable playing comeback in the NRC for Queensland Country.

Stiles said he wanted to reward coaches who have worked their way up the coaching ranks, replicating his own journey from Premier Grade to Super Rugby.

“It’s an exciting coaching staff we’ve brought together. Not only are they all good coaches, but they’re hungry for success and motivated by a common goal, to make Queensland Rugby a powerhouse again,” he said.

“Just like myself, these guys have worked hard through the pathway, they’ve done their time and they deserve the opportunity they’re being given.

“They have already had a big influence on the development of a lot of the players in our squad and we believe that’s important when it comes to preparing the side for Super Rugby, which is why we think they are the right fit for the Reds going forward.”

 The Reds kick off their 2017 Super Rugby season against the Sharks on February 24 at Suncorp Stadium.