New coaching group named for landmark Reds Women's tour to Tonga

Wed, Jul 10, 2024, 7:55 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit
Andrew Fraser will act as head coach for the Queensland Reds' clash against Tonga on July 26
Andrew Fraser will act as head coach for the Queensland Reds' clash against Tonga on July 26

Preparation for the landmark tour of Tonga by the Queensland women’s team will be handled by a new three-pronged coaching coalition.

Andrew Fraser, Head of Rugby at the University of Queensland Rugby Football Club, will act as Head Coach for the July campaign.

It will culminate in the historic July 26 clash against the Tongan national team in Nuku’alofa, the first overseas match played by the Reds women’s team in their 28-year history.

Fraser will oversee defence, his role as assistant coach at Bond University in the StoreLocal Hospital Cup in 2022-23 and with the Hunter Wildfires in the Shute Shield in 2021.

He is known for his infectious enthusiasm and strategic thinking and has helped lift the overall performance of UQ’s 12 teams this season.

“It’s definitely exciting for the ladies and for the Reds to take our women’s team to Tonga,” Fraser said.

“Hopefully, we can put down some markers on where the program can head in the years to come.

“There will be a new look to the squad. We’ve studied the form players in club rugby, identified some players from the recent Brisbane v Country fixtures and will select some with previous experience in the squad.”

Simon Craig, Head Coach of the women’s team on their run to the 2023 Super W final, will act as forwards’ coach for the tour build-up. It will be a non-travelling role because of his commitments as Head Coach of Easts in the Hospital Cup competition.

Tyrell Barker, Director of Rugby at Easts, will step up as an Assistant Coach and inject his knowledge from a previous involvement with the Reds women’s program.

The coaching staff will mesh with the women’s squad on an interim basis ahead of a more formal application process to settle on the Head Coach and assistants for the 2025 Buildcorp Super Rugby Women’s season.

Grant Anderson, Head Coach for the 2024 Super Rugby Women’s season, will not be continuing in the role in 2025.

“I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity I had to be part of a great rugby organisation at the Reds. I was welcomed from the start,” Anderson said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group to be involved with. I feel like I grew as a coach.

“Every time I see a Reds name pop up in the Wallaroos squad I feel pride they are going on with their rugby careers.

“In my role as Head of Rugby at Bond Uni, I’ll continue to support women’s rugby in my work across all teams, with support for coaches and one-on-one coaching with individual players.

“I wish Andrew, his coaches, the Reds and the girls all the best for the game in Tonga.”

Nico Andrade, the Queensland Reds Women’s High-Performance Manager, said the July game in Tonga and the preparation for it offered a valuable mid-year focus for Queensland’s best women’s players.

“To have another high-level, meaningful fixture on the calendar is fantastic. We are assembling a squad to prepare to play a Test match nation in their conditions,” Andrade said.

“On behalf of the QRU, I’d like to extend thanks to Grant, his assistants and staff for delivering the 2024 season.

“There were definitely challenges after a major turnover of players but definitely some bright spots as well.

“We’re all delighted that Nat Wright has emerged as the Reds’ newest Wallaroo, Tiarna Molloy has returned to the international stage with a try and Cecilia Smith could be seen stepping up as Reds captain.”

Australia’s PacificAus Sports program supports the Tonga tour.

PacificAus Sports is an Australian Government sports diplomacy initiative developing pathways for Pacific teams and athletes to compete in elite competitions and access high-performance coaching in Australia and internationally.

The program partners with Australian national sports organisations to support a range of Pacific sports, including rugby union. Funding is split evenly between women and men.

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