Meet the coaching staff


Global Rugby Program Coach Andy Gibson

Andy Gibson

UOW Crusaders Global Rugby, Program Head Coach

Andy comes into this role with an extensive coaching history within the Canterbury Region. He has recently filled Head Coach roles at Christchurch Boys’ High School and the Canterbury B side after two seasons as defence coach. Andy has been an assistant coach for the Crusader Junior XV for the past 5 seasons, responsible for backline attack through to team attack. He has been a significant contributor to the positive learning experiences for the young men in this program, notably the 2021 "learn to fly" campaign. 

In 2018 he was also involved with the successful Crusader Development side under Joe Maddock and Nathan Mauger and has been the lead coach for midfield position-specific group training during the pre-season for the Crusaders Academy.

Andy’s wide range of experiences holding multiple coaching profiles in several environments within our Crusader setup has set him up to make an extensive impact on the UOW Global Rugby Program athletes and the program as a whole.


Grant Keenan

Grant Keenan

Crusaders International Academy,  Manager

Grant has been involved in rugby coaching since 1999 where he started out coaching his local Christchurch club with the Premier Colts side. From 2002 through to 2006 he coached at the infamous Ponsonby Rugby Club, leading their Premier side to the Auckland Championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Following that success, Grant and his family moved to Japan where he coached professionally in Japan’s Top League with Toyota Shokki.

On return to NZ, Grant coached provincial the Mid Canterbury Provincial side (2012-2015) and Head Coach of the New Zealand Heartland XV (2015) playing two tests vs. the touring Australian Barbarians side.

In 2016 and 2017 Grant was the assistant coach for the New Zealand Black Ferns, a time during which they won 12 of 13 test matches, culminating in winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup. The Black Ferns were voted the worlds best rugby team of 2017, a first of any women’s rugby team.

Along with Grant’s full-time role for the Crusaders he is the ‘Skills Coach’ for the Crusaders Academy. Grant will mostly be working behind the scenes but will drop in where possible throughout the year.


Simon Kneebone

Simon Kneebone

UOW Crusaders Global Rugby Program Specialist Coach

Simon, is a highly experienced and sought after coach, developing his skills as a Head Coach and Director of Rugby within the Crusaders / Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby systems. He filled the role of Head Coach at Christchurch Rugby Club, the oldest Club in New Zealand, for 5 successful years before taking on several roles in the Crusaders High Performance Academy and Canterbury Representative program.

His track record of success is very impressive he was Assistant Coach of the Seattle Seawolves winning the MLR title in 2018.

Simon has also won National Titles with the NZ Māori U18 side, Canterbury (NZ) U19s and in the NZ National Farrah Palmer Cup (NPC). Simon has achieved several coaching qualifications, including World Rugby 3 Coaching accreditation, World Rugby Coach Educator and International Rugby Academy – Professional Advanced Coaching accreditation.

Simon is a specialist in Set piece and has a passion for working with Forwards, this compliments his abilities as an attack and breakdown coach and will be working with the Global Rugby Program as a specialist. coach in this area.


Sami Diamond

Sami Diamond

Head Physical Performance Coach

Sami grew up playing a range of different sports, specifically playing competitive soccer, touch football and cross country running. Her passion for sport as well as physical and mental performance led her to complete a Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science at UTS and an Honours in Sports Psychology.

Sami is responsible for the physical development of the students in the Global Football Program and will work with other coaching staff to develop individual strength and athletic development programs to ensure each students area of focus is relevant to the areas they need to develop.

Professional experience:
  • Head Physical Performance Coach – Illawarra Academy of Sport (2023 – present)
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach – Carlton Football Club (2021 – 2023)
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach – Sydney Swans Academy (2019 – 2021)


Lachlan Mackenzie

Lachlan Mackenzie

Physical Performance Coach

Lachlan Mackenzie is a Strength & Conditioning Coach whose understanding of football is underpinned by experience as a licenced football coach and many years of playing and studying ‘the beautiful game’. 

Lachlan has a specific interest in developing the movement qualities of emerging players which he puts into practice at the Illawarra Stingrays & Wollongong Wolves.

10 years as a clinical physiotherapist provided Lachlan with a professional lens to understand and implement physical preparation as a tool for injury prevention, rehabilitation & return to play.

Professional experience:
  • Physical Performance Coach - Illawarra Academy of Sport (2022-present)
  • Head Strength & Conditioning Coach - Illawarra Stingrays (2022 - present)
  • Football Coach - Wollongong Wolves & Illawarra Stingrays (2021 - present)