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Va'a resigns as Wellington coach

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/11/2016

Earl Va'a has resigned after two years as coach of Wellington's national provincial rugby team.

Va'a said on Friday that he wouldn't be seeking reappointment for 2017.

"I have decided that it is in the best interests of Wellington Rugby to allow somebody else to take the Lions forward," he said in a statement.

Va'a's decision comes in the middle of a Wellington Rugby review of a 2016 season which faltered in the Championship semi-finals when Wellington were beaten 40-37 by North Harbour.

Wellington were last year beaten 26-25 by Hawke's Bay in the second-tier Championship final.

"I'm incredibly proud to have had the privilege of leading this team over the past two years and wish the group nothing but success," Va'a said.

Wellington Rugby had blooded 27 players in the last two season, supplied 10 players into the New Zealand under-20s, and had a number of players promoted into Super Rugby teams.

"I know this group will be successful in the Lions jersey in coming seasons," Va'a said.

"However, ultimately we did not reach our goal of promotion to the Premiership and for that I accept responsibility as head coach."

Va'a, who is also Wellington Rugby's high performance manager, said he was keen to remain involved in the union.

Wellington Rugby chairman Iain Potter said the board respected Va'a's decision and would be looking to appoint a new coach before the New Year.

"Earl has grown a lot over the past two seasons as head coach and the on-field results do not reflect all the hard work he has put in."

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