Damian Karauna appointed as Moana Pasifika Backs Coach

Bay of Plenty Steamers Attack Coach Damian Karauna is a welcomed addition to the 2023 Moana Pasifika coaching group, led by Head Coach Aaron Mauger. Karauna’s innovative style of thinking was evidenced in the Bunnings NPC where the Steamers were considered one of the most effective attacking units in the competition.

His successes in 2022 have been recognised through his appointment as the Analysis & Skills Coach for the Wallabies End of Year Tour in Europe.

Karauna will join Leota Filo Tiatia (Forwards Coach), Dale MacLeod (Defence Coach) and Pauliasi Manu (Scrum Coach) to complete the coaching staff for Moana Pasifika’s second season in Super Rugby Pacific.

Aaron Mauger is excited to add another Assistant Coach of such high calibre to his team. “Damian was the standout amongst a strong group of applicants to come in and lead our backs unit for the upcoming season,” says Mauger.

“We have a specific focus on our strike attack and defence from set piece so his character and coaching skills will complement the coaching team we already have. He’s already having a positive impact in this space.”

The former-Hurricanes midfielder has a coaching career that spans a 16-year period, starting in 2006 with Heineken Champions Cup contenders, Ospreys. After seven years with the Welsh side, Karauna was appointed to the All Blacks Sevens coaching group as the Skills & Defence Coach and Head Video Analyst.

After winning the Sevens Rugby World Cup with New Zealand in 2013 and becoming back-to-back HSBC World Sevens Series winners in 2014, Karauna embarked on a new journey to Japan as the Head Coach of the Men’s 7’s Team in 2016.

In 2018, he briefly returned to New Zealand to assist the Bay of Plenty Steamers before heading back to Japan as Skills Coach for the Sunwolves. Having enjoyed his time in Japan, Karauna stayed on after the exit of the Sunwolves from the Super Rugby competition and was appointed Head Coach & Attack Coach of the Sanix Blues in League One, Japan.

In 2022, he returned to home to New Zealand to re-join Bay of Plenty and Moana Pasifika. “I’m so pumped to be involved and am excited about the journey we are on,” says Karauna.

“I was attracted to this team by the way the boys played with flair and physicality. They added some spice back in to Super Rugby. I’m looking forward to growing a balanced game, growing our skillset, encouraging flair without being reckless and having the confidence to play our style.”

“We have high ambition and genuine belief we can deliver. This franchise has a purpose, and it’s a privilege to be part of that.”

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