Kefu returns to Ballymore
NEWS: Wallaby Toutai Kefu will return to Ballymore as head coach of Bond University Queensland Country in the 2016 National Rugby Championship (NRC).
Defending champions Brisbane City will be steered by Sunnybank's Rod Seib.
Kefu, a Queensland centurion and World Cup winner, retired from playing in 2010 and has spent the past six years coaching Kubota in Japan. He was also appointed head coach of Tonga’s national side in April this year.
He will be assisted in the role by Queensland Under-20 coaches Jason Gilmore (defence) and Brad Thorn (forwards).
"I'm excited to be back at Ballymore and I'm looking forward to the NRC," Kefu said.
"The Country team has a lot of history. Queensland Country represents a tough breed of individual, uncompromising, relentless, aggressive – so they're the kind of traits we want to bring out in our team. The identity is already there, so hopefully we can bring that out on the field.
"I think we can definitely win. We've got a strong squad and it's my job to motivate them and get the best out of them.
"I'm looking forward to working with my assistant coaches as well. Brad and Jason have got great experience so I'll be looking to them for support and advice."
Seib, who led Sunnybank as head coach for the last five seasons of the Queensland Premier Rugby competition, was attack coach for City's campaigns over the last two years, which yielded two titles and averaged 40 points a game.
Seib will be supported by returning Brisbane City assistant coach Shane Arnold (defence), who was recently appointed GPS head coach for the 2017 season.
They will be joined for the first time by Brothers coach and former Reds prop Anthony Mathison (forwards).
"I've thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of seasons with City and I'm excited by the opportunity to lead them this year," Seib said.
"The standards for City have been set over the last two years and everyone has bought into that philosophy of hard work and enjoyment. We've got a similar nucleus of players to what we had over the last two years and everyone is excited about the challenge that awaits us.
"The NRC is all about opportunity, for the players and the staff, so we're going to embrace that."
Queensland Rugby Union has also confirmed the support staff for both teams, with a combination of Reds professional staff and community club Rugby.
QRU's Head of List Management and Pathways, Sam Cordingley, said: "Toutai and Rod are both fantastic coaches and we're excited to have them on board. We believe we've struck a good balance within the coaching and support staff for the 2016 NRC season. With this year's head coaches both coming externally, it was important to make sure they were well resourced with support from Queensland Rugby, while also creating development opportunities for personnel from club rugby to increase their experience working in a team environment."
Now entering its third year, the NRC is an exciting domestic rugby competition featuring eight teams from across the country, including two from Queensland.