Rich Harris is our Rugby Development Officer based in Blenheim, responsible for community rugby in Marlborough. He has been a club rugby player for Harlequins and is playing this year for Marlborough Old Boys. He is passionate about what the Marlborough Sounds has to offer.
What is the core role as you see it at Tasman RU?
I get asked this question frequently and it can be a challenging one to answer. The role is quite a vast one and encompasses responsibility for Marlborough Rugby as a whole. My day usually revolves around administration, School programs, Club rugby, upskilling coaches, representative rugby, discussions with our stakeholders and looking after Lansdowne park facilities, to name a few.
What is your career background prior to joining TRU?
After school, I completed an outdoor education certificate which led to a stint coaching water-skiing and wakeboarding at a summer camp in America, which was extremely enjoyable.
On return I attended Canterbury University and completed a Bachelor of Sports Coaching.
Due to the earthquakes, I found myself on the end of a paint roller for a couple years before I managed to crack the sports industry, working as a lecturer, delivering a level 4 Applied Sport course here in Blenheim.
I also spent some time in China working as a Development Officer for a local club, which then lead into my current role as Tasman Rugby where I have been for the past 3 years.
Tell us a bit about your personal life?
I was born and bred on the mighty Banks Peninsular in Christchurch, attended Pigeon Bay primary school and then attended boarding School at St Andrews College.
I’ve been playing Rugby Since I was 5 years old and, even though my best years are behind me, I still love the team environment and having a beer with the lads after a tough game.
If I am not working or playing footy I will be out in the boat fishing, water skiing and enjoying the amazing part of New Zealand we have on our door step, the Marlborough Sounds.
Who were your favourite rugby players growing up?
No one can go past Christian Cullen; balance, strength, speed, agility – he had it all. An absolute pleasure to watch
Conrad Smith is another favourite. He wasn’t the flashiest player but he was solid and you couldn’t help but feel confident when you saw his name in the AB’s backline.
Who are your current favourite rugby players?
Brodie Retallick is on another level at the moment. The guy’s an absolute workhorse.
I have also been watching Jack Goodhue (Canterbury centre) closely over the past couple of years and really feel that guy has the potential to go all the way.