Yahoo!Xtra Sunday Grill: Darryl Suasua

Yahoo!Xtra Sport / Neil Reid
Yahoo Sport

Women's World Cup-winning coach Darryl Suasua has re-emerged as coach of the New Zealand side at this weekend's Sevens World Cup in Dubai. The popular mentor, who coached the side to second place, is keen for a return to the 15-a-side arena, as well as helping to breathe life back into the NZ women's Sevens rugby scene.

Q: How good is it having the men's and women's Sevens World Cup on at the same time?

A: It is great. The neat thing about it is the likes of Tietch (men's coach Gordon Tietjens) has been involved with this campaign right from the start. When we went up to Samoa, he was at the trials and helped with the selection and that sort of thing. That was to get us kicked off, to get us qualified into this tournament. And he has been in constant contact on how things are going and asking if we need any help. That has been awesome. Even with our training (before the team departed). We had dinner together and he asked us to come down, said we could run our patterns and run yours. And it is fantastic. The thing with our women is that they just don't have any Sevens anywhere in the country. There is bugger all women's Sevens and that is a real shame. The other teams we play against have been playing in Dubai, San Diego, London and Amsterdam. They have all these tournaments and all know each other. But as I said before, no-one would have trained against probably the men's team at that level, with Tietch adding his experience.

Q: When you look at your team, the experience of playing Sevens is down. But it must be great that you've got nine Black Ferns in your squad?

A: That is great. But in some ways I don't believe it counts for a lot because the game is so different, even the girls who aren't Black Ferns, two of them have been with the women's Touch World Cup team and the other one is a sprinter. Those three have been doing sport to a high level anyway.

Q: Is this tournament a case of good exposure for women's rugby full-stop?

A: Yeah. Shucks, the girls have been talking about it and if we happen to perform well, then maybe a little bit of a Sevens thing might start happening in New Zealand. There were the days when you used to have the national Sevens in Palmerston North and all the girls teams were down there. And that was awesome. It adds something to the tournaments. To change it up a little bit with the women's game, it is the same but different. I think it adds something to the whole carnival atmosphere of Sevens. It used to be great down in Palmie and I would really like to think that if we do well there would be some real efforts made to get that sort of thing going again. And once you have that national Sevens, the clubs will start playing it again. At the moment there is very little.

Q: As far as your own coaching, this tournament gives you another chance to get back into the limelight. What have you been up to?

A: I have spent a bit of time at Counties, I was academy and high performance manager there and had a bit of a role with the Air New Zealand Cup. Currently I am working for the New Zealand Rugby Union as northern region coach development manager, and I have also been doing some work for the IRB as a trainer. Over the last few years I have been looking after Fiji, Samoa and also Papua New Guinea and spent time with China for a couple of years. That was a lot of fun. I have been all over the place and really enjoying it.

Q: Do you want to get back into coaching a 15s side?

A: Yeah, I would like to get back into coaching at some stage. But there is not a hell of a lot of coaching jobs around at the moment. I pretty much had a year off all rugby last year apart from coaching a school first 15 (Tangaroa College). I really enjoyed that. I loved it, it was a lot of fun. You work at the high performance level for so long then you go back into little problems, like guys not having sprigs. It was awesome. And I would really like to get into coaching at some stage.

Q: And are you proud of how the Black Ferns have kicked on without you?

A: Yeah, they have done well. They picked up the World Cup in 2006 and they are doing well.