'Time is right' - All Blacks mental guru Enoka leaving after RWC

Sat, Mar 18
Gilbert Enoka.

The All Blacks will lose one of their central figures off the field after the Rugby World Cup with mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka announcing he won't seek to extend his NZR contract for 2024.

Enoka has been with the side for 23 years after first joining with Wayne Smith back in 2000.

Since then, Enoka has been involved in 291 Tests including five Rugby World Cups.

"Each of my 23 years has been an honour and a privilege,” Enoka said. “I feel humbled to have been able to contribute to this most wonderful of legacies.

"The time is right for me to pass on the baton. I am committed to ensuring that I fulfil my duties in 2023 to the best of my abilities, in what presents itself as the most special of opportunities.

"I would like to thank my family for their support throughout my All Blacks tenure and those who led the group during my ‘tour of duty’ including Wayne Smith, Sir Graham Henry, Sir Steve Hansen and Ian Foster. They are all very special men."

A former New Zealand volleyball representative, Enoka has worked with national sports teams since the 1990s but his impact on the All Blacks and helping them through their most successful era is world renowned.

During his time as the longest-serving member of All Blacks team management, the All Blacks became the only team to win consecutive Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015, and held the World No.1 ranking for a decade.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson applauded Enoka for enhancing the All Blacks legacy as a highly valued and trusted professional within the team environment.

“Gilbert has played a huge part in moulding the All Blacks legacy over the last two decades,” said Robinson. “His ground-breaking work around the team’s culture and environment has been highly influential in sustained success for the team.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby we would like to thank Gilbert and his wife Michelle. We recognise their hard work and support, and wish their family the very best for the future.”

All Blacks coach Ian Foster - who is also departing the team after the World Cup after announcing he wouldn't reapply - was also quick to heap praise on Enoka with the pair having worked together for over a decade.

“Gilbert has been an integral and special member of the All Blacks over many years,” said Foster.

“I thank him for his commitment to the jersey and I know that he will give everything he has for this team this year.”


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