The Blues strengthen their backroom staff for the 2023 season

Paul Tito plays for the Barbarians 2011 – Alamy.jpg Credit: Alamy

The Blues have strengthened their backroom staff by appointing former Hurricanes and Maori All Blacks Paul Tito as forwards coach for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

The 44-year-old will join the Auckland-based franchise after spending much of the past four years gaining coaching experience overseas and will join the Blues as a replacement for Ben Afeaki who has Rugby New York in Major League Rugby in the United States.

Excited by the Blues challenge

Tito has worked for the past two seasons as current forwards coach at Wellington, NPC title holder and Ranfurly Shield holder, and is excited by the challenge of coaching at Super Rugby Pacific level with the Blues.

“I can’t wait to get stuck with the boys this season,” he told the Blues’ official website.

“It’s an exciting team that Leon and his fellow coaches have put together. There’s a lot of consistency in the staff which I think is a really good thing – I’m sure they will be hungry after last season and want to do better.”

In addition to his spell with Wellington, Tito, who has been a professional player for 12 years, has also worked as a coach with Taranaki and the Western Force while internationally he has had a coaching stint with Georgia, who recently beat Wales in an Autumn Nations Series test in Cardiff. .

As a player, he spent seven seasons with the Hurricanes before playing for Cardiff from 2007 to 2012 and captained the Welsh side as they won the European Challenge Cup and EDF Energy Cup.

Tito believes his experience as a player and manager will serve him well in his new position at the Blues.

“I’ve been in rugby for a while so I’m looking forward to passing on what I’ve learned over the years to this vibrant and exciting group of Blues forwards,” he said. “As a former locksmith, I’ll focus on the lineout, from what I’ve seen there’s a good basis to start from and I’ll add some spice to the equation as well.”

Eager to work with Tito

Blues coach Leon MacDonald is looking forward to working with Tito.

“I’ve played a lot against Paul in the past – he’s always been a tenacious and hardworking opponent,” MacDonald said.

“I’ve been impressed with what he’s done from a manager’s point of view in recent years, just look at Georgia’s recent win over Wales and Wellington’s success to see the impact someone like Paul can have on a group.”

READ MORE: New Zealand: Warren Gatland backs Scott Robertson for All Blacks coaching job

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