The NHRU are delighted to announce the support of the following specialist coaches.
A former NSW halfback, Tim Rapp joined the NSW Waratahs’ coaching team in March 2014 in a role that incorporates all pathway rugby across the state. A product of NSW country rugby, Rapp went all the way from Under 12s to the first XV with his first club the Singleton Bulls. Attending Singleton High School, he represented NSW Country Schools and NSW Combined High Schools before playing for Australian Schoolboys against Ireland and New Zealand. He also represented NSW and Australia in the IRB’s Under 19 and Under 21 World Championships.
After representing NSW Country Cockatoos in 1997, Tim moved to Newcastle and joined the Newcastle Wildfires, who at the time played in the Sydney competition. He moved to Southern Districts in 2000, playing with them until 2005, and was selected in the Waratahs Academy before joining the NSW Waratahs from 2000 – 2002.
He made his NSW state debut against the Chiefs in 2002 and went to win a total of caps that season. Tim also represented the Australian Sevens in 2003 before finishing his playing career back with the Cockatoos in 2006.
A Bachelor of Physical Education, Tim moved straight into coaching, working with NSW Combined High Schools whilst teaching at Matraville Sports High School. After two seasons as head coach of his former club Southern Districts from 2008-2009, he was assistant coach to the Australian Schools from 2010 – 2013. In 2012 he become Director of Rugby at Newington College, where he worked until being appointed to his current full-time role by Michael Cheika in March 2014. He is a level 3 accredited coach and works closely with Chief Scout Tim Kelaher.
He is currently the General Manager of Rugby for NSW Waratahs.
Nick has an impeccable record in establishing and growing high quality Rugby programs over his career.
He coached at Sydney University Rugby Club (SUFC) from 2002 to 2009 with a particular focus on the SUFC Colts. This quickly became the benchmark Colts Rugby program in Australia and undoubtedly was the genesis for the remarkable success of the SUFC over the past decade.
Nick’s coaching record of Colts teams at Sydney University is remarkable with a 93 percent win rate from 2002 to 2009. During this time he also was given the opportunity to coach internationally as the backs and team attack coach for Fiji in the 2009 IRB Pacific Nations Cup, the Technical Director of Harvard University Rugby Club from 2004 to 2008 and Colts Director at Nass Rugby Club in Ireland from 2003 to 2005.
More recently Nick was employed by the Melbourne Rebels from 2010 to 2013 as player recruitment officer together with various coaching roles within the franchise.
He is currently the Director of Rugby at Ranwick Rugby Club.
Alan Gaffney is an Australian-born rugby coach, currently The National Elite Programmes Coach for Australia
He is a former player who played over 200 games with the Randwick Rugby Club Sydney, of which he was elected a life member in 1993.
Gaffney began his coaching career at Randwick DRUFC in 1984 and remained there until 1996. During his time at the Club he coached the likes of David Campese, the Ella brothers, Phil Kearns and George Gregan. He left to coach at the NSW Waratahs; he remains closely linked with the Randwick Club.
Notable coaching successes during his time in Ireland were the winning of the
Assistant Coach New South Wales Waratahs (1997–1999)
While the term meteoric is applied to many careers, it applies to few more accurately than that of Steve Merrick. He only played two tests but, at a time of great turmoil in Australian and world rugby, he gained a lot of attention and credit for a stance he took off the field.
Merrick, a coal-truck driver from Singleton in the New South Wales mining belt, was virtually unheard-of despite appearances for Country against Tonga and South Africa in 1993 and Ireland and Italy in 1994 when he was plucked from the obscurity of country rugby and thrown in against the All Blacks in the 1995 Bledisloe Cup series. He had not been to the World Cup – in all likelihood, he was never seriously considered even if his name had surfaced at selection meetings – but in the wash-up from a disappointing campaign where the defending champion Wallabies were bundled out in the quarter-finals, many changes were made for the two home Tests. Among the casualties was George Gregan, who looked to be the Wallaby halfback for as long as he wanted prior to the Cup but had been off the pace in South Africa, and backup Peter Slattery was not seen as the answer. Enter Merrick.
He played well enough at Auckland in the first match to not look out of place in Test rugby and was retained for Sydney despite the narrow loss on Eden Park. Once again he gave a sound display in a losing cause – this Test was dominated by Jonah Lomu, who was the world’s headline player that year and played one of his best matches – but Merrick looked to have done enough to be worth four of five years at the top, especially as the new professional deal that would see the introduction of SANZAR, the Super 12 and a proliferation of Test matches had been announced at the World Cup, and more quality players would necessarily be required.
In the background until the Sydney match, but bubbling away merrily for all that, was the WRC attempt to organise the game on a global scale but one that needed top players to become reality. It was all hush-hush, but the story had broken midweek and there were few cool heads in either camp as battle lines were drawn. Many players had either signed letters of intent or actual contracts – almost every team at the World Cup had been approached in some way or another – and while Merrick was not a Cup player he was definitely seen as one of the best halfbacks in Australia and therefore a coveted signing for both parties locked in the battle for control of rugby’s immediate future.
Merrick kept a low profile – that was not hard, as he was back in Singleton when most of the uproar was echoing around Sydney – and he was making a choice that would probably make him far better remembered in rugby circles that he would have been if he had taken one of the hefty offers on the table and played on for a few seasons. A few days after his second Test, Greg Growden broke the story in the Sydney Morning Herald of a player who had decided to turn his back on the immense amounts of money available and go back to playing with his mates. Merrick was quoted in the story as saying he “had achieved everything he ever dreamed of in the past four weeks.” Further on, he noted he “wouldn’t be disappointed if I broke my leg next week and never played again.” He did play a couple more matches on bigger stages, for NSW Country against Scotland in 1998 and Ireland in 1999, but retains a special place in the hearts of many traditionalists for playing for the love of the game and for having the courage of his convictions at a time when almost every player was being torn one way and then the other on an almost daily basis. Merrick, one of the last players to wear a Wallaby Test jersey while living out in the sticks, seemed to know what he really wanted out of life and then went away to collect it.
At 104kgs and 184cms and with considerable natural athletic ability, Jeremy Paul has, for the past 10 years or so, been one of the best hookers in world rugby.
Born in New Zealand he moved to Australia with his family as a teenager and began his rugby career in Queensland, playing representative rugby in the Queensland Under-19s side, as a Queenslander in the Australian Under-19 team in 1995 and 1996 while playing club rugby for Easts.
Jeremy was selected in the 1997 Australian Under-21 side and the following year he was recruited by the ACT Brumbies as an understudy to Marco Caputo. He made his Super 12 (now Super 14) and Wallaby debut in 1998.
His representative career with the Brumbies was only 55 minutes old when he tore a calf muscle that kept him on the sidelines for the next four Super 12 games. He has subsequently played 103 games with the Brumbies,and scored 120 points for them – including 24 tries.
In his early career with the national side he was selected as a replacement for Michael Foley and then a replacement for Phil Kearns. It was not long before the selectors recognised his exceptional mobility skills, and his outstanding support play skills are still being praised.
His made his debut with the Wallabies in 1998 in a game against Scotland, was selected in the squad for four other internationals and was used as a replacement during the 1999 World Cup.
Injury has plagued him throughout his international career. In addition to his early shoulder injury playing with the Brumbies, he sustained a season -ending knee injury in 2001 in a game against the Lions in the first Test of the year. In 2005 a neck and shoulder injury sidelined him for the final two matches of the Tri- Nations series, and in 2006 he missed a number of games with a calf injury.
At the end of the 2005 season Jeremy Paul was the most capped Wallaby forward in the squad and a renowned hooker.
During the previous season he had played his 50th game as a Wallaby in a Test against the Springboks.
In 2005 Jeremy polled 194 points to beat the field when he was awarded the John Eales Medal, one of five Wallabies to have done so.
Mark Bell, a hooker, had his early rugby training at St Joseph’s College, one of Australia’s leading rugby nurseries. Over the years those who would play for Australia were Des Bannon (1946), Bell (1993, 1996), John Blomley (1949-50, 1953), Matthew Burke (1993-2004), Andrew Cairns (1990), Alister Campbell (2005-2006), Chris Carberry (1973, 1975-76), Des Carrick (1939), Ernest Cody (1913), Declan Curran (1980-81, 1983), Tony Daly (1989-95), Ted Fahey (1912-14, 1919), Bill Gunther (1957), Bruce Harland (1962), Ted Heinrich (1961-64), Vince Heinrich 1954), John Howard (1969-73), Paul Johnson (1946), Peter Jorgensen (1992), Darren Junee (1989-1990, 1992, 1994), Tim Kelaher (1992-93), Ted Larkin (1903), John Malone (1936-37), Bruce Malouf (1980, 1982), James McInerney (1986), Bill Monti (1938-39), Michael Moran (1908, the early years before going to St Aloysius), Michael Murray (1986), John O’Gorman (1961-63, 1965-67), Brian Piper 1946-49), Basil Porter (1939), Barry Roberts (1955-56), Mathew Ryan (1990, 1992), Peter Ryan (1963, 1966-67), Bill White (1928, 1932), Steve Williams (1980-1985), Harry Woods (1925-1928), Bill Young (2000-2004) and Brett Sheehan (2006). It is a phenomenal record.
As the Joey’s Rationale for Sport document says; “Sport is an integral component of the education provided at St Joseph’s College. The daily timetable and student-management structures of this total boarding school, possibly the largest secondary boys school of its type in the world, ensure that sport is a permanent activity in the College’s routine.”
Mark Bell had his one year in the First Team at Joeys in 1986, and they were undefeated Premiers. It was a record-equalling number of Joey’s players (10) in the Combined GPS First XV, and Bell was one of them. He was then selected for the Australian Schoolboy tour of New Zealand. In the Schoolboy ‘Test’, he was given the Best and Fairest Award.
There were some outstanding hookers operating in Australia at the time, such as Phil Kearns, Peter Palmer, David Nucifora, Michael Foley and Marco Caputo, so opportunities for Mark Bell were few and far between. However, because of his sterling club performances for Northern Suburbs , he was selected for NSW in 1992 for the first time for his State. Ultimately he would play in 32 highly meritorious matches up to 1997.
In 1993 he had his first match against another country when he played for Sydney against South Africa. He was one of four-ex-Joeys players on the team, Matt Burke, Darren Junee and Peter Jorgensen being the others. Sydney went down 30 to 31.
The same year Bell made a short tour of Canada and France, and he played in two of the matches, against Canada ‘B’ (won 24-23), and South East Selection (France, won 24-23). He was now 25 years of age, and had shown he could mix it with the best on the world stage.
With Phil Kearns so dominant, opportunities were few and far between, but he was selected for Sydney once more in 1994 against Italy , in Australia (lost 26 to 36). The same year, on a New South Wales XV, he went up against Western Samoa (lost 18-21). During all this time he had been playing for the Northern Suburbs Club.
In 1995 Bell played for NSW ‘B’ against a touring Argentine team, losing 16 to 43 at Orange, NSW. Howell, et al, wrote in They Came to Conquer, “There were a number of fringe players who just needed that extra bit of luck to get into the State or Australian team. They were hungry to show themselves to the selectors….. some players stood out for New South Wales: Mitch Hardy, Mark Catchpole,Daniel Manu, Owen Finegan and Mark Bell”.
In 1996 Bell played for NSW against Wales, and it was an exciting match, the Blues toppling Wales by 27 to 20. It was one of the highlights of his career. It had been ten years since he left Joeys.
His moment of supreme triumph was in this year. After playing for NSW against Canada (winning 44 to 19), he was selected to play for his country. The starting team in his one and only Test was Matthew Burke, Ben Tune, Daniel Herbert, Tim Horan, David Campese, Scott Bowen, Sam Payne, Michael Brial, David Wilson, John Eales (capt.), Garrick Morgan, Owen Finegan, Dan Crowley and Andrew Heath. It was a rout by 74 to 9.
A solid performer, Mark Bell was unlucky in that he appeared on the scene when Australia had some extraordinary hookers, and they were preferred.