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Mark Hammett to lead New Zealand Schools in 2019

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allblacks.com     06 May 2019     Getty Images

Highlanders Assistant Coach and former All Black Mark Hammett will head the New Zealand Schools team while former Tongan International Gus Ledger take charge of the New Zealand Schools Barbarians.

Both teams will assemble at the end of the 1st XV season for a series of matches against Australia and Fiji in Waikato.

Hammett has a long coaching CV, with roles at Canterbury, Crusaders and Hurricanes rugby, before coaching in Wales and Japan. He returned to New Zealand in 2016 to bolster the coaching teams for the Tasman Mako and the Investec Super Rugby team, the Highlanders.

He will be joined by Sam Rasch as Assistant Coach who currently leads the rugby programme at Scots College in Wellington. Canterbury’s Kevin Harding will also join the coaching team in a skill development role. 


Gus Leger steps into the Head Coach role of the New Zealand Schools Barbarians and brings a wealth of age group rugby experience. The current Sacred Heart Auckland 1st XV Coach has led a number of age group teams under Super Rugby and Provincial Union flags.

Returning for a second year as Assistant Coach is Mark Hooper from Kelston Boys’ High School.

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Players’ Development Manager Matt Sexton said it was fantastic to lock in high quality Coaches to these programmes.

“The New Zealand Schools programme is an important part of our player development pathway and it’s crucial that we have experienced coaches overseeing those teams.

“In recent years, we have seen great success with Jason Holland (Hurricanes) and Brad Mooar (Crusaders) at the helm of those programmes and we thank them for their efforts,” Sexton said.

After crossing the ditch for the last two international schools’ series, New Zealand will host the annual event in September and October in Waikato.

“We know that playing in a black jersey will be a unique opportunity for these players, but to play in front of family and friends at home will be truly special for them.