After a playing career with the Auckland Blues Super Rugby franchise, a new Assistant Coach role for Carlos Spencer at the Hurricanes has caught some by surprise. That is if you were unaware of his association with the region.
Born in Levin, the 42 year old was announced as an assistant for the 2019 season. He was head-hunted by the coach-elect, John Plumtree. The pair, who had worked together at the Sharks, can re-build their relationship at the Wellington club. And Spencer can re-establish his place on the New Zealand rugby scene.
Yet, not being with the Blues, it must feel alien for the three-time Super Rugby title winner. “Being ex-Blues, that was always my goal to return there one day,” Spencer said. If the fans were asked where they ‘want’ him to work, it might naturally be in Auckland. But dressed in his Hurricanes’ polo alongside Plumtree, Spencer admitted “I suppose I always thought I’d end up there before the Hurricanes”.
Assistant Coach role for Carlos Spencer at Hurricanes in 2019
But the fit is an organic one. A bit like the flair shown by the player, his coaching resume is taking him around the rugby globe – returning him now, to his birthplace. Levin, in the Horowhenua province, is only one hour from Westpac Stadium. And Spencer grew up with Wellington in his blood.
Idolizing the likes of Bernie Fraser, Spencer might have worn the black and yellow earlier. If not for the gaze of Graham Henry and the lure of the ‘big city’ in 1993. He made a new standard, and exceeded all his dreams of wearing ‘all black’. Now, 25 years later, he has come full circle.
“It was a pretty easy decision for me. I believe this franchise is going places they’ve been very successful in the past and I like the brand of rugby they are playing. They’ve got some pretty decent stock here I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with and they’ve got a good coaching group which also excites me.”
The existing relationship between John Plumtree and Carlos Spencer played a big part in the aquisition. It has not occurred by chance. More so by association, and the underlying desires of the ex-player to coach in Super Rugby.
Carlos Spencer to add ‘magic’ to Canes coaching group
Departing head coach Chris Boyd has generated a new era for the Hurricanes franchise. Since his inception, they have reached new heights. Boyd has always had a group approach, with a solid scrum coach, backs and technical coaching input. A proven success story [that continued on Friday night, in Auckland].
And the existing coaching group will all stay in place – with the inclusion in 2019, of Spencer.
Learning much from all of the coaches he has played under, it was after he moved to South Africa, that the gifted player influenced the Sharks coaching style. His particular gifts were especially received with the Currie Cup winning Lions. There, Carlos Spencer worked with his former All Blacks coach, John Mitchell and took the famed trophy for the Johannesburg side.
Currently working with Japanese rugby club Sanix Blues, he will return to ‘hand in his notice’ and hopes to leave the club in a good place. The range of teams he has been with, the learnings he has taken, will all culminate now with his place at the Hurricanes.
— 1 NEWS – Sport (@1NewsSportNZ) May 9, 2018
Now Spencer can return to the competition that made his name, in joining fellow assistant Jason Holland, Richard Watt and Dan Cron – who all signed contract extensions. It will mean that he will work with the Barrett brothers, Ngani Laumape, Nehe Milner-Skudder and captain in waiting, TJ Perenara. What better group to utilize the industrious style of coaching, than at a title winning franchise, like the Hurricanes.
Still, some might believe he would be perfectly suited for the Blues. However, the symmetry could have been lost, if ‘King Carlos’ returned to his former club, only to not have the success in which he did with them as a player. So, it might be better this way.
Carlos Spencer will take up his new assistant coach role in November.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images