Good support team for new rugby coach

New national men's rugby coach Frazer McArdell's first task will be to get the Singapore team back into the second-tier Asia Rugby Championship Division 1.
New national men's rugby coach Frazer McArdell's first task will be to get the Singapore team back into the second-tier Asia Rugby Championship Division 1.PHOTO: SINGAPORE RUGBY UNION

A new head coach of the Singapore national men's rugby team has been appointed along with a coaching management team, the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) announced yesterday.

Frazer McArdell, 29, will be aided by assistant coaches Casey Mee, 45, a former professional rugby player in New Zealand, and former Singapore international Mark Lee, 38.

The trio will work with technical director Inoke Afeaki, 43, who had previously stood in as national head coach on top of his original role.

SRU vice-president Jonathan Leow said that the team will benefit from a mix of coaching expertise.

He said: "We've got a good mix of coaches and it's quite a robust team, Each of the coaches brings something different and they feed off one another. This is the best and holistic team we can put together now."

McArdell's first task will be to steer the team towards promotion to the Asia Rugby Championship Division 1. Singapore will play in Division 2 - the third tier of the tournament - next year after their relegation.

The Briton has been the head coach of SRU Premiership League defending champions Wanderers for the past two seasons.

He said: "I took up the role because it's a huge honour to be the coach for my new adopted country. I want rugby to move forward in Singapore and I want this country to be a leading rugby force in Asia.

"Our first step is to give more game time to the players and to instill pride to play for the nation."

Matthew Roberts, a national player who has trained under McArdell with Wanderers, predicts that training sessions will be more focused.

The 38-year-old flanker said: "I've never seen him arrive at a training session without having a structure and plan already in place. He plans and organises them well.

"I think the rest of the players will be surprised when they arrive and find that instructions have already been given - 'Boots on, line-outs, go.' There will not be much standing around and waiting."

While Afeaki will not be directly involved in coaching the men's team, it will not be hands-off totally.

He said: "I'll oversee the training programme and after the coaches execute them, we'll assess the progress and make adjustments.

"Now we have the coaches who specialise in different areas of the game to assess and make improvements."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'Good support team for new rugby coach'. Print Edition | Subscribe