Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stars Rugby 7s Adds Coach NeMani Delaibatiki

For Release 04.30.15 -

Stars Rugby 7s is pleased to announce the addition of NeMani Delaibatiki to our coaching staff.

Coach NeMani Delaibatiki (Mani) is currently the director of rugby at Arkansas State University through June 2015. He played over 25 years of rugby including premier rugby in New Zealand and stints in Italy and Australia. This led him to the United States in 2003 to play for Philadelphia, Belmont Shore, and Palmer College of Chiropractic before turning his focus to coaching. He coached Palmer to several USA Rugby Sweet 16 appearances in 15s as well as trip to a USA Men's Division 1 Club Final Four in 2010. Palmer went on to consecutive Final Fours in 2011 and 2012 under the guidance of his good mate Luke Stringer.

At Arkansas State University Coach Mani had the luxury of recruiting and coaching some of the best collegiate rugby athletes in the country. Arkansas State has been undefeated in rugby 7s for the last three years and are the reigning back-to-back USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Champions. The Red Wolves have repeatedly reached the Final Four for 15s with the exception of spring 2015 - attributed to the high injury toll.

In February 2015 Coach Mani took his young 7s team, led by key seniors Tom Haussrer and Dylan Carrion, to compete in the Las Vegas Invitational alongside the USA 7s stop of the World Sevens World Series. The Red Wolves won the Cup Championship of the tournament, playing in front of a sold out stadium crowd for the final, wherein they qualified for the CRC 7s tournament in May 2015. The Red Wolves will travel to Philadelphia's PPL Park and play against some of the biggest names in college rugby including Life University, Cal-Berkeley, Air Force, Dartmouth.

The fall of 2014 brought Arkansas State's first ever women's rugby team, another program led by Coach Mani. The team has competed in multiple 15s matches and 7s tournaments this spring and expects to grow to a level on par with the men's program.

Coach Mani shares, "I am very excited to be part of the Stars Rugby 7s program as one of the coaches to Canada and am looking forward to working with the players that are selected. I hope I can bring something to the table that can add to the existing spark and high standards and can't wait to get started."

Stars Director Liz Entwhistle added, "I am thrilled to bring in a coach of Mani's caliber to the program. Arkansas State University Rugby has a legacy of producing the finest rugby players with several All Americans and national titles to their name. I have a high level of respect for Coach Mani and Red Wolves Rugby and look forward to the developmental work he'll undertake with our athletes to raise the level of competition for Stars Rugby 7s."

About Stars Rugby 7s: Stars Rugby 7s was founded in November 2013 with the mission of developing rugby 7s players in elite tournament settings. Teams compete in multiple high performance assemblies and international tournaments each year with a deep talent pool combining internationally capped 7s and 15s players, elite prospects, athletically gifted players new to the game of 7s, and crossover athletes. There is a major focus on recruiting players that lack regular exposure to high level coaching /playing opportunities due to geographic restraints and the lack of resources which varies greatly throughout the United States. While mostly US based, the Stars rosters include players from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK and welcomes any players committed to the team and rugby camaraderie. Tours have included the Las Vegas Invitational, Calgary Stampede 7s, Australia Central Coast 7s, Tobago 7s, and Atlanta 7s with numerous championship appearances and titles won.


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