Coulson happy to be making waves with St Benedict's

Last updated at 12:10 01 April 2008

If it hadn't been for his dad, Jesse Coulson might be attempting 360s in the surf off his mum's home in Hawaii instead of making a name for himself in rugby.

"I still love surfing and could quite easily have made it my life," admits the 31-year-old Coulson, who takes his St Benedict's players to Twickenham next Wednesday to face Wellington College in the Daily Mail U18 Cup final.

"But my dad persuaded me there was more of a future in rugby. Like most things, he was right.

"He died a couple of years ago but he was the greatest influence on my life and I like to believe he will be looking down on me next Wednesday."

Clive Coulson was a rugby man too, played for North Harbour and was a baby All Black.

After hanging up his boots, he ventured into the rock world and managed Led Zeppelin, with the result that lead singer Robert Plant became Jesse's godfather. He will be at Twickenham for the final.

With his dad on the road, Jesse was packed off to Eastbourne College where he dabbled in gymnastics, representing Great Britain at the Olympic rings at 16.

But his future was in rugby as a scrum half. He was playing for Auckland Blues when the USA, thanks to mum Sherry, recruited him for the 1999 World Cup.

That gave him one of his great memories, going toe to toe with Wallaby George Gregan and claiming his shirt afterwards.

After spells at Wasps, North Harbour and New York Old Blues, he got his first job teaching, revived Latymer's rugby then joined St Benedict's three years ago as Director of Sport.

St Benedict's won the U15 Cup with this talented squad in 2005, coached by Martin Knights.

When they lost in the semi-finals last season, Knights talked Coulson into taking the lead role.

"I had been with them since they were 11 and they needed a new voice," said Knights.

"Jesse's a great stickler, knows his stuff, is a great communicator and the lads have bought into his way of thinking."

The basis of that is for every player to have a set of skills that will survive under pressure in an expansive but structured game plan.

All in all, the best of 'heads up' rugby.

The result has been some thrilling performances so far with almost 1,000 points scored in 21 unbeaten games.

Under Coulson, St Benedict's have become an irresistible force.

Wellington admit to being underdogs but are no mugs, and the fact that they will take St Benedict's on at their own cavalier game, sets up a mouth-watering clash.

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