The Ospreys are delighted to confirm that Filo Tiatia has accepted the offer to take up a coaching role at the region
The ex-All Black has been appointed Player-Coach, taking up his new coaching duties with immediate effect. The Wellington born former Hurricanes back-rower has signed a new three-year deal that will see him remain an Osprey until at least the end of the 2011/12 campaign.
His coaching duties will see him working with the senior squad on the tackle/contact area where he will use his undoubted expertise to help develop his peers. In addition, he will also work closely with the age group coaches, assisting with the review/feedback process and ensuring an alignment in coaching structures throughout the set-up.
A huge favourite with Ospreys fans, Tiatia arrived at the Liberty Stadium in the summer of 2006 after spending four years playing for Japanese side Toyota Verblitz. Capped twice for New Zealand in 2000, Tiatia has been a huge success for the Ospreys, on and off the pitch, making 63 appearances and scoring seven tries since making his debut against Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium in the first game of the
2006-07 season. He has been in inspirational form in recent weeks, most notably when he scored the late match winning try against Cardiff Blues on New Year's Eve, on the way to picking up the man of the match award.
Off the field, Tiatia has proven to be just as influential during his time at the region to date, enjoying a period as defence coach at Swansea RFC before becoming an age-grade coach within the Ospreys Academy over the last two seasons. His leadership and communication skills have seen him play a leading role in the ongoing development of a number of younger Ospreys, something that he says he wants to continue in his new role. Speaking after committing his future to the region, Filo said:
"It's an exciting challenge for me over the next few seasons, combining playing with coaching and I'm really looking forward to not only working with my peers on the training pitch, but also working with the rising stars of Welsh rugby in the Academy. A move into coaching has been on my agenda for a little while; when I signed my last contract 10 months ago it was something I said that I wanted to experience. I'm grateful that having seen what I can do, the guys here have the confidence in my coaching ability to offer me this opportunity.
"I've no intention of giving up playing just yet, I feel that I've still got a lot to offer on that front, so in the short term it will be a case of balancing the two components. It will no doubt mean some long days but I'm used to that through working with the under-18 side already. The first priority will be my own performance, and ensuring that my teammates and myself are reaching the standards we all expect.
Over time, no doubt, that focus will change and I will work more on the coaching side and play less, but at this moment in time I don't see there being too much impact on what I'm doing day-to-day.
"The next three years will be an important time for me personally, as I look to develop and make the transition from player to coach. There are some great coaches here at the region in Sean Holley, Jonathan Humphreys, Gruff Rees and Andrew Millward that I can learn from, and I hope that my input and assistance over the coming seasons will be appreciated."
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Elite Performance Director, added:
"We are delighted to be able to elevate Filo to this new position. He has made a tremendous impact during his short time at the region and this is the natural progression for him. His leadership skills have been well documented, he has proven to be a hugely influential individual on and off the field and we feel that he is ready to take the next step in his career.
"As an organisation, we have always said that we are prepared to promote from within and reward those who display the values and characteristics that we consider essential, and Filo is the second person to have been promoted this season, following on from Andrew Millward (Regional Performance Development Manager). Filo epitomises everything that we stand for as a region and is a role model to everybody at the Ospreys, carrying the respect of his peers, the management and supporters alike.
"When you talk about people who have been appointed to the role of Player-Coach in the modern game, the likes of Todd Blackadder and Jim Williams come to mind, people who have gone onto great things. Filo has all the attributes to be a successful coach and it is easy to see him following a similar career path in years to come."
Filo Tiatia added:
"The fans here have been great to me, they've really welcomed me into the Ospreys family. I love playing at the Liberty Stadium and I think I've got a special relationship with the crowd, especially the guys in the East Stand, and I'm honoured to be able to continue serving the region in the new position.
"The whole family is delighted that we will be staying in Wales for the next three years. I've spoken in the past about the need to embrace new experiences and new environments, and the last two and a half years have been fantastic. There are so many similarities between this part of the world and where I grew up in Wellington, with lots of great beaches, plenty of places to go, really friendly people who enjoy life and have a genuine passion for rugby."