Tim Lane gets Tonga job

2012-09-23 13:26

Nuku'alofa - Tonga have signed prominent international coaches Tim Lane, Dave Ellis and Mark Bakewell to help guide the islanders' build up to the next World Cup, the Tonga Rugby Union announced on Sunday.

The three will work as assistants to Mana Otai on two-year contracts which are open for extension to after the 2015 World Cup.

Tonga fell just short of making the playoffs in last year's World Cup when they beat eventual finalists France 19-14 in pool play but were surprisingly beat by Canada which cost them a qualifying position.

Ellis was then the defence coach for France who were narrowly beaten by the All Blacks 8-7 in the final.

Lane, a former Australia international, served as assistant coach for the Wallabies then the Springboks before taking over as head coach of Georgia while Bakewell was head coach of Bath before moving to the Melbourne Rebels.

"It's great because people see the potential in Tonga rugby and they want to join and we are very lucky," Tonga Rugby Union's high performance manager Peter Harding said.

Tonga, with their new coaching team, will go into training next month before their end-of-year tour where they will play Italy in Brescia on November 10, the United States in North Wales on November 17 and Scotland at Murrayfield on September 24.