Former Kiwi Ferns coach and two-times NRLW premiership winning mentor Kelvin Wright will prepare the Brazil Amazonas for the 2025 World Cup in a huge coaching coup for the South American nation.
Wright, who led the Brisbane Broncos to back-to-back grand final triumphs in 2019 and 2020 and three NRWL minor premierships (2019, 2020 and 2021), will take charge of the Amazonas as they aim to build on last November’s World Cup debut.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Tarsha Gale Cup mentor Dale Jackson will work with Wright as assistant coach of the Brazil women’s team.
Up to 12 members of the Brazil World Cup squad have expressed an interest in moving to Australia to develop their game ahead of France 2025, with captain and halfback Maria Graf due to arrive next month.
Star prop Franciny Amaral, who was named in the RLWC2021 team of the tournament, and playmaker Byanca Santa Rita are expected to follow soon after.
“I am extremely privileged and excited to join Brazil,” Wright said in a statement announcing his appointment as head coach of the Amazonas.
“Watching them at last year’s World Cup I witnessed a group of passionate and committed players who are just starting their rugby league journey.
“I can’t wait to lead the team forward to reach greater heights, whilst contributing towards developing the game within Brazil.”
Wright has an impeccable coaching resume in his four seasons with the Broncos, as well as at international level with New Zealand men’s and women’s teams.
He has coached the Kiwi Ferns, Junior Kiwis and was an assistant to Stephen Kearney with the Kiwis, while also holding several coaching positions at the NZ Warriors.
Jackson, who has been appointed as Wright’s assistant, works in recruiting and coaching with Rabbitohs’ women’s program and is in charge of their Tarsha Gale Cup team.
He also works as a game development officer for the NRL, growing participation in the Sydney area.
“I am really looking forward to opportunity to work with the Brazil Amazonas team,” Jackson said.
“There is definitely a lot of raw talent within the female Brazilian rugby league program, which is exciting, so we just need to get the right systems in place as well as build a fun and competitive culture, and success will roll off the back of that.
“We want to build something that the nation will be proud of and that young girls want to strive to achieve. Also getting to work with Kelvin is a great opportunity for myself to grow as a coach.
“I still have a lot to learn, and he has been there and done it so really looking forward to working with him closely as well.”
Brasil Rugby League CEO Hugo Fróes paid tribute to Amazonas coach Paul Grundy for his role in leading the nation to last year’s World Cup.
“Paul fulfilled a huge role and a challenge of a lifetime in leading Brazil to its first RLWC,” Fróes said. “We will be forever grateful for all of his work, and the doors of Brasil Rugby League will always be open for him.”
Fróes said Wright and Jackson would take charge of the Amazonas for the first time in an international match later this year.
“Kelvin is one of the best coaches in the world, he has specialised in the women’s category and was the one who brought the most results at club level,” Fróes said.
“Dale is a manager on the rise, he has made a massive internal culture shift within the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he fully understands how to take raw talent to stardom, and he and Kelvin will open doors for our players in Australia in near future.
“I am very happy and proud with our new team and looking forward to this year’s game and the 2025 Cup in France.”
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