Allan Bunting has been named as the New Zealand women’s 7s coach, taking over from Sean Horan.
Here’s the 3 reasons why I particularly like this decision.
1. Bunting knows the game
Unlike his predecessor, Bunting played 7s at international level, he had experience coaching provincial level 7s and had been involved with international coaching programmes in NZ and abroad.
The women’s sevens program has been well planned and well resourced in New Zealand.
- There are national high school competitions for women
- Primary school girls are playing full contact
- Talent identification events are run around the country
Bunting was there from the start and it is critical that this work continues and improvements are made.
3. It sends the right message
I feared that there may have been a cross-over from the unsuccessful NZ men’s coaching job applicants – to give them experience and keep them in the system.
I kind of expected to see either (or both of) Willie Rickards or Scott Waldrom to be unveiled as part of the women’s coaching team.
[NOTE – I have nothing against Rickards and Waldrom. I hope they remain coaching 7s in New Zealand and that one or both are part of the new coaching team of the All Black 7s]
The promotion of Bunting shows that some serious thought has gone into the specialist nature of women’s sevens and the importance of continuing the good work that has been done.
It also shows that there are genuine pathways for our coaches where the opportunity is right.
What about a female coach?
More female coaches at provincial level are critical to the development of the women’s game so that players can benefit from the direct knowledge of their predecessors.
- The selection of ex-Black Fern Victoria Grant as coach of the Bay of Plenty women’s 7s team is a positive move
- Anna Richards appointment to the head coaching position for the Hong Kong women puts her in a great position to apply for the top job in New Zealand in the future
More opportunities must be afforded to prospective female coaches at club and provincial level.