Dave Furner is not short of international experience. He’s both played for and helped coach Australia during his career, ultimately helping the Kangaroos seal a Rugby League World Cup victory in 2013. Now he’s using that experience to help guide Tonga, ranked 11th in the world, to glory in 2017!
Tonga have quickly become one of the most exciting prospects for the World Cup after their squad was boosted by high profile forwards Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita.
Dave Furner will take the role of assistant coach to Kristian Woolf when they kick off their campaign against Scotland on the 29th of October. The Rabbitohs assistant coach is excited for what he expects to be an even and exciting tournament.
“The concept of the World Cup and the way the teams are divvied up now it makes for a very exciting time,” said Furner.
“[We’ve got] Scotland up in Cairns, Barlow Park, then we go over to New Zealand there with two good games.
“Samoa have put a very strong team together and obviously with New Zealand, there was a little bit to do before a ball has been kicked, but for me the players have chosen who they want to represent. I’ve got no doubt that the lead up to those games will be pretty good.”
Recalling his experiences with the successful Kangaroos side of 2013, Dave points to a commitment to of a team to a singular goal as a strong indicator of success and he believes his Tongan side have that commitment.
Dave points to the Pacific Tests of the past few years as evidence that the players and fans of Tonga are united by their passion for football.
“One of the things I can remember in the 2013 campaign was the commitment of the players. When you’ve got a team that has a common cause it’s pretty powerful.
“I really enjoy the weekend where they have that stand alone representative round and you see the pacific island teams up against each other – you can see in the fans and in the players how passionate they are.”
Dave is looking forward to the opportunity to reunite with players he’s coached before and to also meet the upcoming pacific stars who’ll be getting their first taste of a major international tournament.
“I’m just looking forward to getting to know a few other players too. Obviously I know big Jase (Taumalolo) quite well, Andrew Fifita was involved in 2013 and Kristian [Woolf], but just to get to know some of the other players and see how passionate they are to wear the jersey [is rewarding],” said Furner.
“For me it’s all about coaching experiences so I’m looking forward to it.”