JASON O’HALLORAN has announced that he is joining Japanese Top League outfit Suntory Sungoliath on a two season deal. The former All Black centre, who has been working in Scotland since 2015 (initially with the national team and then with Glasgow Warriors since 2017) previously spent five years between 2001 and 2006 playing and coaching in the Top League.
The 48-year-old confirmed in December that he would be leaving Glasgow at the end of the season but insisted that he did not have a new job lined up.
“I just want to be close to my kids, it’s as simple as that,” he said at the time. “Out of courtesy to the club I didn’t want to be oohing and aahing, and in three months telling them I have something back home in New Zealand and they miss out on a decent attack coach in the meantime. I just wanted to give them as much time as possible to find the best replacement they could get.”
Former Ireland internationalist and Gloucester assistant coach Jonny Bell has been lined up as O’Halloran’s successor at Scotstoun.
“I am excited to work alongside head coach Milton Haig, management and the exciting playing squad at one of Japan’s premier teams,” said O’Halloran in a press release issued by Warriors. “Suntory have a reputation for playing a fast paced, attacking brand of rugby and this fits nicely with my own personal philosophy toward the game.
“Japan did a fantastic job of hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Top League continues to grow in quality and significance globally. I am motivated to continue to learn and grow as a coach and couldn’t have hoped for a better opportunity to do this than with Suntory.
“I look forward to immersing myself in the great Japanese culture again. The fans are always hugely supportive of their teams, whilst respectful of the traditions of sportsmanship celebrated in rugby.
“I would like to wish incoming attack coach Jonny Bell the very best of luck in his new role,” he added. “I have been fortunate to talk with Jonny recently and he is a thoroughly decent bloke, with good rugby smarts and a dry wit. I have no doubt he will fit in seamlessly at Scotstoun and do an excellent job.”