Veteran Western Force scrum-half Ian Prior says it’s been “rewarding” working as an assistant coach with the club’s U19s during the recently concluded Super Rugby Men’s U19s Championship.
The 33-year-old, who led the Force as captain from 2018 to 2021, worked under Academy head coach Dylan Parsons and Jeremy Thrush with the Force U19s as they finished fourth in the five-team competition which ended for the side with Sunday’s 32-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs.
Prior capitalized on the opportunity presented by the Force’s four-week break prior to pre-season resuming next week to test his coaching skills, focusing on 22m attack and skills.
“Really rewarding and enjoyable, passing on a lot of lessons from playing for a while,” said Prior, who moved to WA in 2013.
“There’s a lot of exciting young talent coming through in WA. It’s good to see the next generation coming through and passing on those lessons.”
Prior is currently completing his Masters in High Performance Sport, having previously completed degrees with a Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology and Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.
“I want to be involved in rugby moving forward and professional sport,” Prior said about his long-term aspirations after his first practical taste of coaching.
“I’ve done a couple of degrees in that space. I’m finishing off my Masters in High Performance Sport at the moment. I really want to give back to the game and professional sport and men and women chasing their dreams.”
On his coaching stint, Prior added: “This was a little block to try and sink my teeth into that role and see if I’m any good at it and if I’d enjoy it, which I certainly have.
“It’s been rewarding but now I’ve got to start getting the body ready and ticking over for a big pre-season coming up.”
The bulk of the Force squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign will return for the first week of pre-season next week.
“It’s pre-season (number) 15 for me,” Prior laughed. “They never get any easier.
“Exciting for this one coming up, we’ve got a few different things we’ll be approaching and obviously quite a few new players coming in as well.
“It’s always an exciting time, nerve-wracking when you get to day one and testing and seeing where everyone is at and seeing how much work everyone has done, but exciting nonetheless.”
The Force open their 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season on Friday 23 February 7pm against the Hurricanes at HBF Park. Memberships are on sale now, including the offer of free Junior Memberships. More info here.