Marty Berry. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Former All Black Marty Berry’s coaching job with a Canadian club is on hold because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Berry had signed a two-year contract to coach the Leprechaun Tigers in Edmonton, Alberta.

He was due to take leave from his real estate position in Greytown and depart for Canada in early April when lockdowns came into force around the world.

“I’m not too stressed. It was good timing in some respects as we’re not stuck over there. We love it here, and now I can get stuck into the real estate.”

He and wife Andrea were planning the trip after their three children had left home, Berry said.

“All three of our kids are in Australia at the moment, and we always wanted a bit of an OE,” he said.

“I had coached and played in Italy in the late 1990s and played a bit of league in southern France. I always wanted to try a bit of coaching overseas, and they offered a two-year deal.

“It would’ve been a good chance to go and have a look around that part of the world. It’s all on ice at the moment, and I’m not too sure about what will happen next year,” Berry said.

With Edmonton subject to bitterly cold winters, training was due to start mid-April, with the season beginning at the end of May and running through the northern hemisphere summer.

Coaching is nothing new for the 10-match All Black, who started his representative career as an 18-year-old for Wairarapa-Bush in 1985.

Berry played 64 games for the green and reds and also played first-class rugby for Wellington, Manawatu, and one game for South African province Transvaal.

As well as coaching in Italy towards the end of his playing career, he has assisted with coaching at the Upper Hutt and Marist St Pat’s clubs in Wellington and has coached his boys at the renowned rugby school, St Patrick’s Silverstream.

When time allows Berry hopes to go along and watch his old club Greytown play in the Wairarapa-Bush premier championship.

The deferral of Berry’s contract is also good news for Greytown, who will now have the services of talented inside back Raniera Petersen for the season.

Petersen had signed to play for the Leprechaun Tigers, but with that opportunity gone, Berry said the 2019 Wai-Bush rep and NZ Under-19 Heartland representative would now play for Greytown.

Meanwhile, Berry’s youngest son Rocco celebrated his 19th birthday on Sunday with the New Zealand Warriors in Tamworth, New South Wales.

Rocco, a talented fullback or wing, fended off keen interest from the Hurricanes and other Super Rugby franchises to sign a fulltime contract with the NRL club in 2019.

He is part of the 32-man squad in training for the NRL season, which is due to commence on May 28.

“He seems to be enjoying it. The senior reserve grade was cancelled, but they need to have the whole squad over there in case of injury,” Berry said.