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Lawrence leads Johnsonville to resurgence in Club Rugby

Apr 16th, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Sport

The Johnsonville Rugby Club has had a change in fortunes with a new coach.

When Mason Lawrence arrived in 2013, the club had failed to make the semi-finals of the Hardham Cup, Wellington’s annual club rugby competition.But in just 12 months he guided them to a 4th placing, putting them into the semi-finals.

Johnsonville had gone from mid table in the division below, to a premier side.

2014-04-11_12-42-13_473 - CopyLawrence [LEFT] says it’s impressive for Johnsonville considering that only about 8 players had returned from the previous year’s squad.

The coach says defence has been the biggest improvement in the Johnsonville side.

“Basically defence is a key for any team. I think our defensive system has proven to be effective,” he says.

Lawrence’s coaching career began with the Johnsonville under 8s, before moving on to coach a Marist St Pats senior team in 2012.

Since coaching the Johnsonville premiers, Lawrence says he has noticed a lot more recruiting of players from established clubs due to better management and systems.

But he says most of the teams in the competition have at least four coaches, whereas Johnsonville has just one.

“I’m more than just a coach to the players, I am also a father to them,” Lawrence says.

“But we’re getting there with good mangers and people at the club now,” he says.

His son, Corey Lawrence is the captain of the Johnsonville side.

Looking ahead, the coach says the goal this season for Johnsonville, is to win games and improve the team dynamics.

The coach says success should be measured not only on the growing of individual players but on developing a competitive team culture as well.

And Lawrence says that Johnsonville’s return to premier rugby has led to resurgence in community support.

“The community is behind us 100%, we want to win and have a good record at home”, he says.

However the coach says he isn’t looking to move a higher league in future.

“I’m quite happy coaching at Swindale Shield level,” he says.

Johnsonville Rugby Club


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