Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) have announced the appointment of Nick Stiles as the Queensland Reds head coach for the next two seasons.
Stiles was appointed head coach by the QRU Board, following a recommendation made by the QRU’s Coach Selection Panel, which featured a number of former high performance managers and coaches.
A former Reds and Wallabies prop, Stiles has 11 years of coaching experience, including six seasons in Super Rugby and two at the helm of National Rugby Championship side Brisbane City, which claimed back-to-back titles in the first two years of competition.
QRU’s Executive General Manager – Reds, Daniel Herbert said: “The panel and Board considered a number of strong candidates and ultimately determined Nick to have the right attributes to take this group forward.
“He is a passionate Queenslander who understands the DNA of Queensland Rugby. He is an experienced coach who has proven to be technically astute and has a strong record of developing players both young and old.
“Nick is a good leader, who has turned the Reds set pieces into one of the more statistically dominant in Super Rugby.
“He has the strong support of the playing group, many of whom he has identified and developed.
“He has the backing of the Queensland Rugby Union and the Australian Rugby Union, including Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who has committed to working closely with Nick to ensure his ongoing development and success as a head coach.”
QRU’s incoming CEO Richard Barker said: “The process has been thorough and I have been kept across all the panel’s deliberations and have had the opportunity to sit down with Nick prior to this announcement.
“Both the panel and Nick himself have identified team culture as a key driver for future success and we all will play a part in helping Nick create a winning environment here again at Ballymore.”
Stiles began his coaching career immediately after retiring from playing, taking on the role of head coach with University of Queensland in Premier Grade in 2006.
The current season is his 11th as a professional coach, during which time he has worked in Japan’s Top League, Super Rugby and the National Rugby Championship.
He also played all of his representative Rugby in Queensland, earning 96 caps for the Reds from 1998 to 2005 and captained the side on eight occasions. He represented Australia 12 times, winning a British & Irish Lions series, the Tri Nations series and the Bledisloe Cup in 2001.
“I’m incredibly proud and honoured to get the opportunity to lead the Reds into the future. Ballymore is like a second home to me,” said Stiles.
“We’ve got an exciting group of players with a lot of potential and some great staff and we are all highly motivated to return the Reds to success. It’s going to be challenging and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but that will make it all the more rewarding.”
Reds captain James Slipper said he backed the appointment and was happy to continue working with Stiles.
“Nick is a great coach and has a good rapport with the playing group,” he said.
“I’ve seen first-hand how he can get the best out of players and I know how much this team’s success means to him. The players are ready to get behind Nick and we look forward to 2017.”
The Reds have also released Matt O’Connor who intends to pursue other head coaching options.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Matt O’Connor for his contributions to the 2016 season,” said Herbert.
“Matt has stepped up in difficult circumstances and has contributed significantly to the program. He is a fine coach and we wish him well for the future.”