Jersey Reds have appointed Neil Tunnah as the club's new forwards coach. The 37-year-old Scotsman will take up his position in May, when he will succeed Alex Rae, who is returning to the UK after four years on the Island.
Tunnah played as hooker for Jedforest and Watsonians in Scotland before ending his playing career in 2010 and moving to Australia, where he has since forged a growing reputation as a coach. This included stints in the semi-professional grade rugby set-up in Sydney with Gordon, Northern Suburbs and West Harbour Pirates. He coached alongside former Wallaby player and Munster Coach Jim Williams with the Greater Sydney Rams, one of the clubs making up the professional top tier of domestic rugby in Australia, the National Rugby Championship.
Reds Chairman Mark Morgan said Tunnah (pictured above) had been the outstanding candidate at interview from a strong short-list.
"Neil gave a very strong presentation and outlined what he would bring to the job in a very thorough and organised fashion," he said. "We were impressed by his enthusiasm and the fact that he has worked at several levels in Australia developing and motivating players and showing them how to reach their potential. That's something that will be very important for us."
Harvey Biljon added: "We had some excellent candidates and I was very pleased with the process we went through and really look forward to working alongside Neil. He was the person who stood out in terms of his rugby knowledge, the coaching chemistry that we will be aiming to build and the potential to fit in to life in Jersey.
"I believe Neil really buys in to what we are about in terms of the ethos and culture of the club. He has a big task ahead given our reputation for having a strong pack in recent seasons, but that's a challenge he's excited about and I see him rising to. With a number of departures in May he has the opportunity to mould a new pack."
Neil Tunnah said he was excited at the prospect of a move back to Britain and working in the professional Jersey set-up in the Greene King IPA Championship, the second level of the domestic game in England.
"I'm at the stage both personally and professionally where I was actively looking for opportunities back in Europe, and it will be great to be working at a fully professional club where there's a real aspiration to succeed."
Tunnah said that after settling on the Island during the early part of the summer he will be joined by his wife Sarah and two young daughters.
"The majority of my family are in Scotland and it will be great to be in the same time zone and an hour's flight away from them, rather than on the other side of the world," he added.
Neil Tunnah (right) with former coaching colleague at West Harbour Pirates in Sydney, and ex-Scotland international, Dan Parks
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