The man, whom the All Blacks called “Little Jonah,” will begin his big job on Sunday’s trip to Newcastle to build on Harley Quinn’s amazing success as the new Premiership Champion.
Quinns bounced off a noisy start last season, dismissing rugby’s Paul Gustard in January and winning a spectacular comeback title in the semifinals in Bristol and the edging of Exeter 40-38 in Twickenham. Won.
In addition to the unusual nature of break-in, Tabai Matson was hired as a senior coach this season. The 48-year-old arrived in the summer and began working with a cohort of assistant coach Adam Jones. Nick Evans, Charlie Murcron and Jerry Flannery oversaw the London Club’s soaring free score to glory.
Fijian-born New Zealand-raised Matson, who coached back in Bath under Todd Blackadder in 2016-17, played only once as a hard running center in London Irish for the third time in the Premiership. Harlequins, England and Lions coach Dick Best in 2000-01.
“I loved London Irish. Some of my best companions came from my time there, and being coached by Dick Best was a privilege,” says Matson. Me.. “For New Zealand coaches, there are only five major professional teams, so they tend to learn how to play the game away, which extends the experience.”
Matson’s playing experience included a tour from New Zealand to France in the fall after the 1995 World Cup and was selected on the left a week before the first test. This is only because the new superstar Romu won the 11th jersey at the international competition. The great Frank Vance shook at number 13.
“They called me” little Jonah, “but no one played a game like him,” says Matson, who was barely petite at 6 feet 3 inches and 240 pounds. Easier. He also won Super 12 at the Crusader’s in 1998, played for Breeve in France, then coached Canterbury and the Crusader’s in Christchurch, where he grew up, and worked as an assistant to Japan, Australia, and more recently Chiefsback. Did. In New Zealand.
“When I was teaching the University of Queensland [in 2006], Eddie Jones was a Queensland coach and he was drinking coffee with me, “remembers Matson. “I coached Eddie in Fiji vs Japan. You don’t call him, he calls you, but he’s on the other side of the road [at Twickenham] And I will definitely knock him in someday. Wayne Smith and Robbie Deans also have amazing mentors. “
As a teenager, Matson slept on the deck as a tuna bait on the Fijian Islands for his summer work. Trying it on the Thames may seem chilly, but Matson is familiar with his surroundings who lived in Sunbury during London Irish. A few days, and he’s enjoying the next chapter at Harlequin.
“When this work started, I dropped everything,” he says. “I didn’t win the title at that stage, but it wasn’t that important. The semifinals and finals were the two best games I’ve ever seen and ended. Seven weeks later. An antithesis between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions took place. People want to see a positive playing style, but when it gets a little dark in December, it has to be practical. It’s probably you. Is about to add value. It’s easy for me because I wasn’t here and I don’t bear the burden of success. “
New prospects such as Alex Dombrandt, Jack Kenningham, Louis Lynagh and Tyrone Green have helped Quinns move forward with great support play and confidence in their individual skills. And the old hand has given advice to Matson’s sages.
“”[Scrum-half] Danny care, [former fly-half] With Nick Evans [prop] All Joe Marler was here when Harlequins won the Premiership in 2012, “explains Matson. ‘. They were the main impetus, saying, “If we don’t move, we’ll be overrun.”
And when asked who would choose the team now, Matson said:For example, if you’re talking about props, you need to say “bomb” [the nickname of ex-Wales front rower Jones]..
“But perhaps one of the best things is getting a new slate. Players who don’t have much game time feel that they may have a chance, and those who have a lot of game time say,” He I don’t know me. ” The first is who is most ready. “
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