Tuilevuka Named Seattle Seawolves Interim Head Coach, Clarke and Best Join 2021 Coaching Staff

23-Apr-2021

Photos by Quinn Width / Sky Sports News / Oisin Keniry/INPHO

TUKWILA, WASHINGTON (APRIL 23, 2021) – The Seattle Seawolves have adjusted 2021 coaching roles and responsibilities effective immediately. For the remainder of the season, director of rugby Pate Tuilevuka will act as interim head coach and Kees Lensing will pivot to an assistant coach role, focusing on the Seawolves’ forwards and set piece.

In addition to the changes with current staff, the Seawolves have added further support to the coaching team in Allen Clarke and Rory Best, bringing vast experience to bolster Seattle’s technical and high-performance skills. Clarke and Best will be with Seattle through the remainder of the 2021 season, helping direct the current campaign and laying the groundwork for the future development of the club.

Allen Clarke was capped eight times as a hooker for Ireland and won the 1999 Heineken Cup with his club side Ulster; the first European title for an Irish side. He also spent several seasons with English side, Northampton Saints. On retirement Clarke joined the Ulster coaching setup and established the provinces’ academy system. He was promoted to assistant coach under Mark McCall and served in Ulster’s title-winning season in 2005-6. Following this success, Clarke was hired by Ireland Rugby as the first elite player development manager to develop young Irish players. He also served as head coach of the Ireland U20 team and Ireland’s ‘A’ side. He rejoined Ulster as assistant coach in 2012 and continued to be involved in coaching the Irish A side. In 2017, Clarke left Ulster joining the Ospreys in Wales initially as forwards coach and then as head coach. In 2020, Clarke joined the Dallas Jackals as director of rugby. With Dallas opting out of the 2021 season, Clarke is available and will act as technical coach to the Seawolves.

Rory Best (OBE) represented his province, debuting for Ulster in 2004 with 219 appearances for the professional side. He was appointed captain at the age of 25 and led the province to the Heineken Cup final in 2012. Best was captain of Ireland from 2016 to 2019, earned 124 caps for his country, and played in four world cups. Best is one of the most capped rugby players of all time, as well as the most capped forward to represent Ireland. Best toured twice with the British and Irish Lions side in 2013 and 2017. Between 2004 and 2018 Best won four six nations including two grand slams (one as captain). He also captained Ireland to a historic victory over the All Blacks in 2016 at soldier field in Chicago and again in 2019 in Dublin. Best is the only Irish captain to have ever won over Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - and one of the few captains in World Rugby to achieve this. Rory retired in 2019 and is current on World Rugby trends and playing techniques. He joins the Seawolves coaching staff to help build elite player skills and capabilities.

The Seattle Seawolves head to Texas to face the Austin Gilgronis (2-2) in the final away match of their five-match road sprint before playing at home May 2. Kickoff is on Sunday, April 25 at 4:00 PM PT on ROOT SPORTS regionally and The Rugby Network globally.

Media Contact:
Carly MacKinnon
carly@seattleseawolves.com
425 802 8740