Blues lose another coach



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Blues’ assistant coach Greg Cooper will not be coaching the Blues in 2009. Cooper joined the Blues for the 2008 season as assistant coach after four years as head coach of the Highlanders.

‘One of the key attractions to joining the Blues was the opportunity to work with David Nucifora who I hugely respected as a coach. My family remained in Dunedin this year with the intention of relocating to Auckland for 2009.’

However, unfortunately during the year, Cooper’s youngest daughter became considerably ill and the family feels it would not be in her best interest to relocate. That coupled with Nucifora’s decision to return to Australia saw Cooper reassess his plans.

‘A lot has happened since I first signed up with the Blues. Now I need to put my daughter and family first and I feel for the next year at least, the right decision is to step back from the full-time demands of coaching a Super 14 side.

‘Instead, I’ve chosen to do short-term consultancy coaching for NEC in Japan,’ says Cooper on the Blues website, one of the longest-serving coaches of Super Rugby in New Zealand.

‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Blues’ environment this year. Working with the players, coaching staff and management was a real privilege. I have gained a great deal from the experience and am sad to be leaving the team.’

Blues CEO Andy Dalton says the franchise is disappointed to be losing Cooper but empathises with the reasons for his decision.

‘Greg brought a lot to our team. He has not only a wealth of coaching experience but is a man of integrity who offered so much to the Blues on and off the field.’

Nucifora echoes this sentiment. ‘To work with such an experienced coach was of great value to both me and the team. In one season, Coops contributed so much to our squad and we were fortunate to have worked alongside him.’

NZRU General Manager ‘ Professional Rugby, Neil Sorensen thanks Cooper for his service to New Zealand rugby.

‘Coops has been a fantastic New Zealand rugby man, universally respected both on and off the field. We wish him and his family all the best.’

Cooper had a distinguished playing career in New Zealand representing the Hawke’s Bay, Auckland and Otago unions; the Blues and the All Blacks.

Coaching Profile:

2002/03 Highlanders assistant coach
2002/03 Otago co-coach
2004/07 Highlanders head coach
2006/07 NZ U21 coach
2008 Blues assistant coach

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