St. John’s College’s new Rugby Institute Coach Sam McNicol’s passion runs deep for educating up and coming players both on and off the field.
Although he has hung up his boots for the foreseeable future due to a string of injuries, the former Hawke’s Bay, Chiefs and Hurricanes fullback says the opportunity to take up the role was something he couldn’t turn down.
“I didn't think twice about it because I really enjoy working with that age group. You see the most gains in the development of a rugby player who is around that early teen to mid-teen stage.”
Alongside his role with St. John’s College, Sam is a Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union Secondary Schools Rugby Development Officer.
Sam credits his success as a rugby player to the development he received during his formative years and hopes to replicate that for the young SJC players.
“Personally, I think a lot of my development as a rugby player happened during secondary school. That’s probably where I made the most improvements to then move onto a professional level.”
St. John's College Rugby Institute Coach Sam McNicol with players during a training drill.
His career highlights include making his Super Rugby debut as a 19-year-old for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs and then playing for the Chiefs in a winning match against Wales.
In his new role, Sam is in charge of the Year 9 and 10 players involved in the College’s Rugby Institute.
“Being able to give back in this area is awesome. I really want to unlock a few capabilities so that they can perform, and potentially realise their dreams.”
He says the rugby programme at St. John’s College is in really good stead.
“My goal for these boys once they finish through the Under 15s and institute grades is to be capable and really promising young First XV players who can represent the school well.”
However, he believes their attitude off the field is just as important to achieving success on the field.
“It’s about being really diligent, having a good work ethic, and an open mind, and being willing to listen, take constructive criticism and move forward with it.”
Acting principal Willy Kirsten says Sam is an excellent addition to the school’s rugby foundation.
“We are delighted to have Sam on board. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will no doubt aid in our boys’ development and inspire them both on and off the field.”