With the sudden departure of Robert Taylor, SUFC have made the decision to recruit internally to fill his position of 1st Grade Head Coach for the remainder of the year. We are pleased to announce Director of Rugby and 1st Colts Head Coach, Michael Hodge, along with 1st Grade Assistant Coach, Joe Horn-Smith, will step up as co-Coaches for the 2020 season, with the assistance of former SUFC Head Coach and NSW Waratahs Assistant Coach, Chris Malone.

After interviewing both Michael and Joe, the Club believe the pair’s credentials and understanding of the foundation that has been set this year, along with their own unique skills and experiences, provide a great balance to lead the Club in 2020.

The duo both spent ample time with Rob over the past few years and, importantly, accompanied Rob and the 1st Grade squad to NZ in March this year on their pre-season high-performance tour. With the structures, recruitment and game plan already in place for the 2020 competition, we believe the Club is in good stead for another successful season.

Executive General Manager, David Haigh, had this to say about the appointments:

Rob has achieved much in his time at SUFC and set the bar very high for those who will follow him. We think it is only fitting the two coaches who have spent the most time with Rob in recent time are set to replace him and resume the season’s preparation, which commenced in November 2019. Mick and Joe have both played and coached at the Club over many years and their passion for the players and their development shone through. We wish Rob all the very best and thank him for the legacy he leaves behind for Mick and Joe to continue.”

With Michael moving up from the Colts Program, Director of Women’s Rugby and Junior’s Development, Chris Delooze, will assume management of the Colts program, whilst continuing his primary roles as Women’s Head Coach and head of junior development. We plan to announce the appointment of an interim 1st Colts Head Coach over the next week or so. Michael will also continue with his Director of Rugby duties to ensure cohesion remains between all teams throughout the Club.

As we look more long term, the Club will be conducting a thorough recruitment process to fill the role of Head Coach for 2021 and beyond.

Michael Hodge

Michael is a product of rugby nursery Marist College in Canberra and captained the 1st XV in 2007 before joining Sydney University. After a successful Colts season in 2008, he played 70 1st Grade games and played in the Shute Shield premiership winning side in 2012.

Michael represented Australia 7s in 2011, the Sydney Stars in the inaugural NRC competition and was contracted with the NSW Waratahs between 2012-14. He has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Sydney and after multiple season ending injuries, which led to retirement, he took up a teaching role at Cranbrook School while also coaching the 1st XV team. 

Michael has a wealth of rugby experience as a professional player and a coach and most importantly a great history with SUFC. In his first season as Director of Rugby, 1st Colts won the W Mahon Memorial Shield in epic fashion and both 2nd and 3rd Colts made the Semi Finals. 

Joe Horn-Smith

Joe, hailing from England, played prop for SUFC between 2010-2013 before joining the 3rd Grade coaching team for 2014 & 2015. Since 2016 he has worked closely with Rob as his Assistant Coach, firstly with 1st Colts and more recently 1st Grade. Of his 6 years coaching with SUFC, he’s brought home 5 Premiership titles (made it to the Semis in 2015) with a success rate of 86%, he is also the mastermind behind the Club’s scrum and rolling maul dominance over the past few years.