Darren Larsen has been appointed as the Wellington Rugby Union’s new Academy Manager.
Larsen brings an intimate knowledge of the region’s young players and a wealth of experience after coaching various Wellington age grade representative teams for more than a decade.
A level four World Rugby accredited coach, his impressive resume also includes coaching the Hurricanes development side and the New Zealand secondary schools Barbarians selection for the past two seasons.
Last season he played an integral role as the Wellington Lions fulltime resource coach during their run to the national provincial championship final last season.
And now he is excited about the opportunity to shape the province’s next generation of young stars including the eight young players added to the Academy in 2016.
“It’s about building strong relationships with the Academy players and aligning them with their clubs so they can be part of Wellington rugby’s future.”
Larsen was looking forward to working alongside Wellington Lions coach Earl Va’a, who is also the WRFU’s High Performance Manager.
“I’m a strong believer in a balanced rugby environment and growing players in all areas of their game,” Larsen said. “It’s not just making them physically strong, but taking a holistic approach. We want them to be both technically and tactically equipped. That means having the necessary skill set, but also having the knowledge to be able to make the right decisions out on the field.”
Wellington Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Rogers said Larsen’s vast experience working with young players and lifelong association with the province made him a perfect fit for the Academy.
“Lardy is the sort of guy who has never wavered in his absolute passion for the game. He’s proved himself over a long period of time and built a reputation as someone who knows how to spot and develop talent from school and club rugby to the representative level.”
Larsen’s commitment to the game was epitomised by his decision set up his own business Larsen Coaching and Rugby Services three years ago.
He has been the Rugby Development Officer for the Petone Rugby Club since 2013, but began his playing career as a front rower for the Wainuiomata Rugby Club before going on to coach the premier side.
Larsen takes over the Academy job from Evan Crawford, who after 10 years in the role has taken up a new coach development role with New Zealand Rugby in the northern region.