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Coach Education


New Zealand Rugby offers a range of coaching courses throughout the country. The courses are facilitated by Provincial Union Coach Educators and Rugby Development Officers (RDOs) and are designed to meet the need of coaches at each level. 

NZ Rugby’s Rugby Smart Safety Course

Is compulsory for all coaches of U14 grade and above and must be attended each year. As well as refreshing the key safety messages each year, this course also provides coaches with some valuable coaching material presented by some of the country’s most respected and experienced coaches.

NZ Rugby’s Teenage Coaching Module

All coaches of Under 18 to Under 14 grades must attend a compulsory coaching teenage module in addition to the annual RugbySmart course. The modules will be run in conjunction with the RugbySmart course, following a set prescription developed by New Zealand Rugby and be delivered by Provincial Union Coach Educators and Rugby Development Officers.

NZ Rugby’s Coaching Small Blacks Course 

Is compulsory for all coaches of U6 grade and above to U13 grade. A series of introductory modules that emphasise creating an environment of skill-development and fun. User-friendly coaches’ handbooks and coaching resources are issued free to all coaches who attend the course. Attendance is compulsory each year for registration as a Small Blacks coach.

A. Beginning Rugby Course: for Under 6–Under 7 coaches or

B. Learning Rugby Course: for Under 8–Under 11 coaches or

C. Playing Rugby Course: for Under 12–Under 13 coaches



Opportunities exist to coach at every level, from school children, through to club level, provincial level, progressing through to professional coaching at Investec Super Rugby and All Blacks level.

As opportunities arise you can progress your coach development as follows:

1. NZ Rugby Foundation of Rugby Coaching Course

This course has been developed to provide coaches with a basic understanding of some key facets of the game of rugby.

The resource is directed at all coaches and the course is divided into three stages: the area of game knowledge, teaching skills and how to run an effective practice. It includes a comprehensive manual focusing on the skills of rugby as
well as providing basic information on teaching a skill and the practical implications of rugby training.

2. NZ Rugby Developing Rugby Coaching (DRC) 

A series of practical workshops and modules developing both rugby knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the coaching environment. Modules include: 

Principles of Play; creating a learning environment; Scrums; Lineouts; Attack; Defence; Continuity; Counter Attack; Kick re-starts. A laws test; Growth and development; Mental skills; and Physical preparation are delivered online. Coaches can attend as many modules as they like in any given year. 

Developing Rugby Coaching modules are recommended for the following:

• Age-grade coaches: U14 and above

• Club coaches

• Secondary school coaches

• Senior club coaches

• Provincial age-grade coaches

• National age grade coaches.

• Provincial senior coaches

• Investec Super Rugby coaches

• All Blacks coaches 

Accreditation at the DRC level will gain coaches the World Rugby Level 2 Coaching accreditation.

3. NZ Rugby Performance Coaching Course 

A course run by Investec Super Rugby franchises based around functional role analysis, team selection and profiling, establishing an effective team culture, physical preparation and nutrition, back attack, law, applied individual skills training, game planning, advanced continuity skills, sport psychology and communication skills.

Recommended for:

• First XV secondary school coaches

• Senior club coaches

• Provincial senior coaches

• Provincial and national age-grade coaches

• Investec Super Rugby coaches

• All Blacks coaches


1. Nomination by Provincial Union

2. Accreditation at Developing Rugby Coaching level

4. NZ Rugby Sevens Coaching Course 

A one day course to be delivered by Provincial Unions. 

Please make contact with your local Provincial Union if you are interested in attending any of the above courses or would like further information. 

5. Practical Rugby Coaching 

Provincial Union development staff run informal workshops designed to give coaches a better understanding of the practical components involved in coaching rugby through modules that are user-friendly and interesting for all participants.

Modules may include:

• Lineouts

• Scrums

• Backlines

• Opposed trainings

• Goal-kicking

• Defence

Entry is open for all coaches at all levels.