Andrew Suniula Joins Austin Gilgronis MLR Coaching Staff
ROUND ROCK, Texas (November 12, 2019) – Austin Gilgronis is excited to announce the promotion of Eagles great, Andrew Suniula to the team’s coaching staff for the 2020 Major League Rugby season. Suniula served as team captain in Austin in the 2018 Major League Rugby Season.
Suniula prepared for a team manager role for the 2019 season but instead shifted back into a player role following key injuries in the centers. This pre-season Suniula is heavily involved in planning the team’s rugby program and will have the team prepared for the February 9th kickoff.
“The ideal role for me is to help create a player-driven environment where our coaching input is just one aspect that helps our players define the team’s culture and routine; which will, in the end, drive performance,” said Andrew Suniula. “It sounds like the boys are excited to come in and we’re excited to put the work in so we can play a certain brand that will give us both development and W’s as well.”
Suniula earned 39 caps for the Eagles spanning two World Cup cycles. In the 2011 World Cup, Andrew played alongside his brother Roland; who has re-signed to play for the Austin Gilgronis this season. In the 2015 World Cup, Andrew played with his brother Shalom, who Andrew & Roland will face when the Seawolves come to Austin this April.
Suniula’s playing career took him all over the world, beginning in the Auckland youth ranks at Kelston Boys’ high school before a university career at Auckland University of Technology. Upon graduation, Suniula took on a leadership role with the provincial rugby club, Taranaki. In 2007, Suniula code-hopped to rugby league with the Auckland Lions and found even greater success with the World Championship-winning Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
In 2010, Suniula made his move to the United States where he began his player-coaching career with the Chicago Griffins. Professional rugby again came calling, this time it was the Cornish Pirates for the 2012-13 season. Then the London Wasps brought in Suniula for 16 appearances in the Premiership. In 2015, Suniula played a season in Romania with CSM Bucuresti before returning to the United States in 2016 to play for the San Diego Breakers of PRO rugby. This season Suniula’s professional career came to a close after two seasons in Austin.
“It’s exciting to work with someone you respect and someone you’ve been in the trenches with,” said Director of Rugby Todd Clever. “He’s a servant of the game and respected globally, not just because of his play but because he’s a great guy, he works hard and doesn’t take shortcuts.”
Andrew Suniula has playing and coaching experience from countries across the globe and is the first Major League Rugby player turned coach.
Welcome to the Gilgronis coaching staff, Andrew Suniula!
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