Eastern Suburbs may be Sydney’s oldest district rugby club, but in season 2016 the club will look to funnel an abundance of resources into its newest recruits at Woollahra Oval.
Easts has announced the launch of a new colts program for the upcoming season, in the hope to improve on a fifth place finish in the Colts club championship in 2015.
As part of the initiative, the Beasties have taken on former first grade captain Pauli Taumoepeau as full-time Director and Head Coach of Colts.
Leading into his third season as the driving force behind the colts program, having previously worked on part-time basis, Taumoepeau said his new role will add an element of depth to the under 20 system.
“It will add more professionalism to the program, just because I’m here full time I’ll be able to dedicate more time to the individual,” he said.
According to the former backrower, in order for Easts to compete with the strongest colts sides Sydney has to offer, it was vital to expand their resources, giving them the best chance to move forward.
“We are looking to widen the coaching staff next year for colts. Hopefully we will have a Colts scrum coach, defensive coach and skills coach. We are just trying to provide no excuses for the boys to get better,” Taumoepeau said.
“What we are doing is a direct reaction to what the clubs are doing around us. We share the same player pool as Randwick and Sydney Uni, and they’ve both got full time staff.
“Because Easts are serious about wanting to develop young guys and wanting to make this club very competitive, they found it very important to put me on full time. The main reason of my appointment was so we could compete at every level.”
In directing their focus more towards the younger demographic of players coming through the club, Easts has recognised the need to implement an off-field support network, in order to ensure players maintain a well-rounded approach to their rugby.
The club has even employed their own Career and Education Mentor, Anna Gill, to link players with universities and assist in the progression from school into the workforce and tertiary education.
“A big draw card for us is that we care about the boys off field as much as we do on field. We want them to go to uni, we want them to work. Rugby is six hours of the week at this level, so if you are going to prioritise in terms of time then rugby isn’t at the top,” Taumoepeau said.
“So our attraction is that we have put in place the off field initiatives like Anna, where you can go and see her if you need help with a course or if you re struggling for work and she will be able to put you in touch with something specifically catered to your needs. You can go anywhere and your rugby will improve.”
On the rugby side of things, the club has recruited strongly, penning the signatures of some of the country’s best up and coming talent.
With the likes of Australian schoolboy centre pairing Dan England and James Hawkins, as well as Australia A openside Charlie Smith, the Beasties are looking to field a powerful colts outfit in the coming seasons.
Continuing its long tradition of nurturing raw talent from the country, Easts has also locked down St Stanislaus brothers Daniel and James Donato, the latter of which represent NSW schools in 2015.