Top rugby coaching trio appointed for King's 1st XV
Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A new dedicated King’s College First XV Rugby coaching team will bring a fresh approach to this year’s First XV team as they prepare for the highly competitive Auckland 1A Competition season.

The coaching team comprises of experienced rugby coaches Mark KennellyKevin Putt, and Scott Palmer. Kennelly and Putt currently teach at King’s and have a long-standing history with the College. Palmer coached the Auckland Colts with Mark Kennelly from 2015 to 2017 and is currently involved with the Pakuranga United Premiers and Rugby Academy.

Headmaster Simon Lamb believes that King’s is privileged to be in a position where it can draw on the talent of staff within the College and their valuable rugby expertise, as well as attracting strong external rugby coaching talent to create a powerful coaching combination.

“The combined experience of Mark, Kevin and Scott across all levels of  local and international rugby, will serve our First XV team members well as they work their way through the upcoming season,” says Lamb.

“We have a range of very talented rugby players at the College and many seek to further hone their skills to pathway to a professional rugby career after they leave King’s, so depth of coaching is really critical to helping them achieve their future rugby aspirations.”

Mark Kennelly joined King’s in 1993 and is currently Head of Geography at King’s. He has a successful career coaching rugby within Auckland and is no stranger to the King’s First XV Rugby team, having coached the team from 1998 to 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008.  Notably, in 2005 the King’s College First XV won the coveted Auckland 1A Competition. Kennelly also coached the Auckland University Premier team for three seasons from 2011 to 2013 and the Auckland Colts from 2015 to 2017.

Kevin Putt, a teacher of Social Studies, currently coach of 2nd XV Rugby and Touch at King’s and Housemaster of Selwyn House, began a first-class rugby playing career with Otago in 1984. He then went on to represent Waikato 52 times and played for the New Zealand Sevens from 1987 to 1989 before moving to South Africa in 1992. There, he represented Natal for more than 150 games, earning the position of Springbok halfback from 1994 to 1996. In 1998 Putt moved to the London Irish Club where he ended his playing days as player-coach before embarking on a full time coaching career. In Durban, he coached the Natal Sharks in three Currie Cups, and four Super 12 campaigns. In New Zealand he was Counties Manukau NPC Coach before joining King’s in 2008.

Scott Palmer joins King’s this month with a 13 year background as a professional Rugby player in Italy representing Benetton Treviso Rugby and Petrarca Padova Rugby. He also represented the Italian National Team from 2002 to 2004, earning 13 caps and playing in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Palmer has both national and international coaching experience, starting out coaching for Rugby Reggio Calabria in Italy from 2012 to 2014. Upon returning to New Zealand, Palmer was appointed Assistant Coach Under 21s for Marist Brothers Old Boys Rugby. Since 2015, he has been Assistant Coach of the Auckland Colts and Premier Assistant Coach for Pakuranga United Rugby Club and involved in the Under 18 Rugby Academy.   

The First XV Rugby coaching team and rugby at King's will be supported by the newly created role of Director of Rugby. This role will assist with the development of rugby at King’s and communication with players and their families, as well as liaising with a wide community of King’s rugby supporters. The position will encourage the integration of modern rugby coaching techniques at King’s across all levels of rugby.

“The creation of this role reflects the College’s continued commitment to the development of King’s Rugby, as the teams aspire for success at all levels,” explains Lamb.

The new coaching structure comes into effect from Term 1 2018 and King’s looks forward to an exciting 2018 rugby season.