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Cooper Returning To Taranaki

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Fuseworks Media
Cooper Returning To Taranaki

Wellington, Dec 1 NZPA - Colin Cooper has announced he will resume his old role as Taranaki head rugby coach in 2011 when his time at the Hurricanes comes to an end .

Cooper had indicated 2010 would be his last season with the Super 14 franchise, but told the Taranaki Daily News his decision to apply for the job came at the last minute.

Taranaki have been looking for a new coach since Adrian Kennedy quit several weeks ago.

Taranaki Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said Cooper had signed a two-year contract and it was a welcome return.

"Colin is Taranaki born and bred and the pride he has in his home province, which he has represented and coached with distinction, will be an invaluable asset to us."

Cooper was Taranaki coach from 1999 to 2001 before moving to the Crusaders as assistant coach in 2002.

He became Hurricanes head coach in 2003, a position he has held ever since, taking the team to six semifinals and one final.

Cooper said the opportunity to spend more time with his family was what sold him on the new job.

"Taranaki has always been home to me and I have been away from my family for the last nine years, which has been hard on them and me.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of being involved with the Hurricanes franchise, and still have plenty left to achieve during the 2010 campaign.

"By taking up this position with Taranaki I am able to remain in the region and continue to help develop players for the franchise."

Hurricanes chief executive Greg Peters said he was pleased Cooper would be staying in the region and wished him well.

"He had always signalled that 2010 would be his last year and now this has been confirmed we will begin our search for a new head coach immediately."

New Zealand Rugby Union general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said it was rare for a coach to move from a Super franchise to a provincial team.

"It's a testament to Colin's character that he does this with so much enthusiasm.

"There are obvious benefits to Taranaki, but it's great that New Zealand gets to keep Colin's skills."

Cooper told the Daily News he saw his new role as wider reaching than just coaching the Taranaki side and would also be working with the union's academy, club coaches and age-group representative sides.

 

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