Current Tasman Mako assistant coach James Marshall has joined the Crusaders coaching staff ahead of the 2023 season.
Marshall, a former Hurricanes, Tasman, and Taranaki player, was approached by head coach Scott Robertson some weeks ago about joining the coaching staff on the back of Andrew Goodman’s departure from the club.
The offer to join the Crusaders was somewhat unexpected for Marshall, as he recounted his recruitment,
“Out of nowhere, Razor gave me a call and asked if I’d be interested in filling the massive shoes of Andrew Goodman. Although I promised the family I would put a stop to moving around for work, when Razor comes calling, probably the most successful coach in Super Rugby, and asks you to come to the most successful franchise, it was a no brainer.”
Marshall’s coaching career began on the back of Carlos Spencer’s departure from the Hurricanes in 2020, and a hip surgery that effectively ended his on-field career.
“Jason Holland asked if I’d take over his [Carlos Spencer’s] role for the remainder of the season, so It was a case of one day I was in the changing room with the players, the next I was up in the coaches box talking about the players and all my mates; it was a pretty quick transition”
After a stint with the Hurricanes, Marshall and his family moved to Nelson, where he joined the Tasman Mako as an assistant coach under Shane Christie and outgoing Crusaders assistant coach Andrew Goodman. However, the allure of coaching at the Crusaders under Scott Robertson made the decision to leave an easy one.
“His [Scott Robertson] record speaks for itself. I’ve always admired the success of the Crusaders from the outside and wondered what goes on behind the walls, so I’m really excited to get started and work with him, and the rest of the coaching staff, who are all world class coaches in their own right too.”
At only 33 years old, Marshall’s youth puts him in a unique position as a coach, as he believes his connection with a lot of the players will help him settle in quickly to the Crusaders high performance environment.
“There’s not many players I don’t know, both through coaching at Tasman and my playing days. I feel like I’m going into it with a bit of knowledge around what the guys are like, and I’m just looking forward to working with them as a rugby coach and try feed them whatever info I can. They’re all world class players as well, so I’m sure they can teach me a few things too.”
Marshall’s playing career took him from Tasman, to Taranaki, to the Hurricanes and even featured a brief stint with the London Irish in the UK and the Coca-Cola Red Sparks in Japan. Marshall believes the breadth of experience in his playing career will hold him in good stead for his blossoming coaching career.
“I think my experience playing around the world has opened my eyes to the different styles of rugby you can play and still be successful. There’s not one right or wrong way to play, as long as everyone buys into the process and understands their game plan, I think that’s key to a successful rugby team.”
James Marshall is the latest in a long line of players and coaches that have come through Tasman to join the Crusaders’ high-performance team. Recent notable additions include former Crusaders’ assistant coach Andrew Goodman, current All Blacks Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga’anuku, David Havili, Ethan Blackadder, and Tonga International, Sione Havili Talitui. Strong foundations in each of the six provincial unions are one of the main reasons why the Crusaders remain a dominant force in Super Rugby.
Success sits at the forefront of Marshall’s mid as he joins the Crusaders coaching staff toward the start of the 2023 season,
“I just really want the Crusaders to continue the success they’ve had. The great teams understand that they can’t rest on their laurels and need to keep improving, so hopefully I can offer one or two little things that might make a big difference.”
“Personally, I want to learn as much as I can from the coaches and players involved and see where we all end up at the end of next season.”
Marshall officially starts with the Crusaders when the team assembles ahead of the 2023 season.