The National, Tuesday 10th July, 2012
By KEITH PUARIA
SACKED Pukpuks coach Shane Howarth has been snapped by English premiership side Wasps.
Howarth, a former Blues Super Rugby player and All Black, was asked to resign eight months ago by the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union.
No reasons have been given for the directive that essentially is considered a sacking in modern professional sport.
Wasps’ director of the rugby David Young told international media that Howarth was signed up and “strongly recommended by All Black Rugby World Cup 2011 winning coach Graham Henry”.
“We have a similar philosophy on the game and I think we will hugely benefit from his intimate knowledge of both the northern and southern hemisphere,” Young told journalists.
Since his retirement in 2003, the former All Black and Welsh international had coaching stints with NZ national provincial and Super rugby sides Auckland and the Blues, New Zealand Maori and the Pacific Islanders. He was offered the role of national coach of the Pukpuks sevens in August 2010.
Howarth took over from Fiji sevens great Waisale Serevi and immediately made his mark, firstly at the Oceania qualifiers in Darwin, and then at the Commonwealth Games in India a month later.
The national sevens side qualified for re-entry into the HSBC International Rugby Board World Sevens Series in Darwin for the Wellington and Adelaide legs, and then raised eyebrows with their bowl winning performance in Delhi.
Howarth was appointed to the XVs coaching role for the Federation of Oceania Rugby Union (FORU) Cup championship, where the Pukpuks took victory with wins over the visiting Vanuatu, Niue and Solomon Islands sides.
The Wasps play in the Aviva English Rugby Premiership, which they have won seven times. In addition, the club has won the European Cup –Heineken Cup.