North Harbour Rugby has confirmed a third Bunnings Warehouse NPC coach with Steve Jackson signing on to join the QBE North Harbour team for 2021.
Jackson has a wealth of coaching knowledge and was a former player around New Zealand and overseas.
He coached at the Blues, also took Samoa to the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and recently he was in charge of the Shimizu Blue in Japan, but the 48-year-old is happy to be home in New Zealand again.
“It’s great to be home and spend more time with my family. Japan was great and we were in the second division and made the top two in our pool and played the semis. Our team in Japan worked first and trained in the evening, 14-15 hour days. It was like club rugby in a way,” said Jackson.
“The Japanese people have been through a lot. But they even managed to get some crowds to rugby. They are very passionate about everything they do. But when it comes to rugby Kiwis are more natural and instinctive with the game.”
It is the second stint as a coach at North Harbour after he was last in charge of the side in 2014-16 taking the team from Championship to Premiership.
He joins the two other QBE North Harbour coaches in Ben Afeaki and Daniel Halangahu.
“Dan and Ben are both outstanding coaches. When I was given the call, I didn’t hesitate to come back. I’m looking forward to it. Dan and Ben are easy to work with, great coaches and great people too. We got a good crop of players and I’m sure we can do well.”
Among his coaching experience have been earlier roles with the Blues Development, Blues 10s, Tasman and Counties Manukau among others. As a player he spent time at Southland, North Harbour and Tasman and the Maori All Blacks.
Head of Performance at Harbour rugby, Alex King is pleased to be working with Jackson again.
“He’s a good coach and knows Harbour rugby. It’s great to have him back again as part of the team. He’s got great skills, plenty of respect and will work well with Dan and Ben too. We’ve got a great trio to take the guys forward for what should be an exciting season.”
With the full list of fixtures for the competition released QBE North Harbour has home matches this season against Waikato on Sunday 8 August to open the season and then other matches at North Harbour Stadium where they take on Southland, Tasman, Manawatu and Northland.
There is also a potential Ranfurly Shield challenge against Hawkes Bay in Napier, Friday 10 September.