Forrest reappointed for fourth season


Jason Forrest is ‘‘stoked’’ to be reappointed as North Otago Rugby’s head coach for 2022.

At a North Otago Rugby Union board meeting last week, the North Otago rugby stalwart was given the nod for his fourth season.

Forrest joined the team as head coach in 2019 and led the Old Golds to their first Meads Cup win since 2010.

They beat Whanganui 33-19 in the final in Oamaru.

Covid-19 put paid to the 2020 Heartland season but the team still played some matches against South and Mid Canterbury.

The pandemic once again disrupted the 2021 season, pushing the season opener back due to lockdown, but North Otago still made the Lochore Cup final, once again against Whanganui.

North Otago had also had three Ranfurly Shield challenges under Forrest, against Otago, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay.

‘‘Last year was a challenging year but at the end of the day we made the top four. We’ll be better for it moving forward,’’ Forrest said.

‘‘[I’m] looking forward to a successful year this year hopefully, that’s for sure.’’

North Otago had a relatively young pack last season and Forrest said the players would be better for the experience.

It was an exciting group, with many of those players sticking around in North Otago for club rugby this season, and there were also some new players coming to town.

‘‘It’s a big year hopefully, with everything going ahead.’’

North Otago Rugby chief executive Colin Jackson said he was pleased to retain Forrest as coach.

‘‘We’re extremely happy with the job that Jason has done over two tough years in 2019 and 2021.

‘‘We’re looking forward to the growth that we’ve seen from that period,’’ Jackson said.

‘‘Jason is a very talented young coach and we have high hopes that the high standard that Jason has set will continue.’’

Forrest’s management team was yet to be finalised.