Prominent rugby coach Leon Holden will lead the Sports Programme at St John’s College from 2020 onwards. His appointment is seen as an exciting step forward for the College. “Leon brings world class coaching and player development experience that will serve our students enormously well” says Principal Mr Shane Tong. “Sport is an important dimension of our culture, and Leon shares our philosophy about the value of sport in preparing young men for life.”

As a representative player across basketball, cricket and rugby in the ‘90s, along with a teaching background, Holden understands the sporting landscape and development pathways for young athletes. “Making sport fun and rewarding for students so that they’re converts for life will be a key driver for me” explains Holden. “I like that St John’s provides a wide range of sports for all students, and their Athlete Development Programme is preparing robust and confident athletes capable of performing at the highest levels.”

With a roll of 850 students and growing, St John’s College is already a major sporting force in the Waikato region. “Basketball is leading the way with nationally ranked performances and the College’s age group rugby teams have dominated Waikato competitions in the recent years” says Holden. “Football and cricket are also delivering championship teams, so there’s enormous potential for aspiring young sportsmen across all codes to be joining high performance teams here.”

Holden has carved an impressive international career in rugby coaching, including stints at London Wasps under Sir Ian McGeechan British Lions Coach and with several Japanese clubs. He was Director of Rugby for the Waikato Rugby Union from 2014-16 and remains actively involved in the domestic game. His roots are in Hamilton, having trained as a teacher and played with the Marist Rugby Club here in the early 1990’s. “We’re very lucky to have a Director of this calibre and with Leon’s immense experience.” acknowledges Principal Tong. “He is the ideal fit for St John’s so we can continue to give our young men opportunities to perform at the highest level.”

Back to News