There will be an international flavour to the Bull Sharks’ 2024 pre-season after Bond rugby coaches and staff mined some of the brightest minds in rugby on their European tour.
The players were also inspired by a training visit from one of their own, Bull Shark Zane Nonggorr who is in France with the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.
It is fitting that Bull Sharks coach Grant Anderson found himself at a university football club because he is a student of the game.
During the Covid-19 shutdowns Anderson was part of an international rugby chat group where coaches, many in charge of national or professional sides, would trade ideas on the game.
One of those was Stuart Lancaster, whose son Dan had played for Bond.
The former England coach kept a close eye on his son’s progress while he was a Bull Shark and through that grew close to Anderson.
Their relationship paved the way for the touring party to spend a day at French professional club Racing 92, where Lancaster is now the head coach.
With coaches of the calibre of French legend Frederic Michalac and famous All Black Joe Rokocoko, there was plenty of international experience for Anderson to draw from.
Bond Director of Sport Mike Collins said the visit could only benefit the Bull Sharks program as Anderson and Director of Rugby Luca Liussi were able to pick some of the best brains in the business.
“Ando and Luca have been in professional programs before, so our players are already getting some first-class support,” he said.
“But whether it is gaining new ideas or insights, or just confirmation on some processes we already have, it is always helpful for any coaches and football staff to see what other organisations are doing, especially such a professional outfit as Racing 92.’’
Collins also met with Welsh coach Warren Gatland on the day of the Dragons’ Rugby World Cup victory over the Wallabies in Lyon.
“Gatty is an old mate so it was mostly a social catch up, but anytime you get to spend time with a coach of a national team you’re going to be picking their brains,” he said.
“He will also lead the British and Irish Lions on their next tour to Australia and we chatted about some potential opportunities there.’’