Tiatia given player-coach role at Ospreys
January 8, 2009
Ospreys back-row Filo Tiatia has signed a new deal with the club to become player-coach © Getty Images
Ospreys back-row Filo Tiatia has taken up a role as player-coach with the Magners League leaders.
Tiatia, who won two caps for the All Blacks in 2000, joined the Ospreys in 2006 and has become a favourite at the Liberty Stadium with fans and players alike thanks to his direct running style and powerful ball-carrying abilities. Alongside his impact on-field Tiatia has been active behind-the-scenes, working as defence coach with Swansea RFC and as an age-grade coach within the Ospreys academy in recent seasons.
Tiatia's main focus will be training the first-team on their skills in the tackle area and he has signed a three-year deal.
"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," said the former Hurricanes star.
"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."
Tiatia has signalled his intentions to carry on playing for some time to come, a bonus given his excellent recent form in collecting the Man of the Match award during the Ospreys' win over Cardiff Blues on New Year's Eve.
"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," he said. "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 team-mates 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."
Ospreys High Performance Director Andrew Hore praised Tiatia's leadership skills and maintained that he was ready for the next step.
"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," he said. "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."