USA Rugby announced today that Milton Haig will assume the interim head coach role for the USA Women’s Eagles during their 2023 Fall test match window.
As the Board of Directors and leadership continue to evaluate a strong pool of candidates for the full-time permanent head coaching role, Haig will lead the team and a new set of interim assistant coaches during the friendly with Wales and WXV2 series in South Africa. Rich Ashfield, who had been in the interim role through this year’s Pacific Four Series, will remain with the team during their joint training camp in Ireland before handing over to Haig, as Ashfield returns home to his new role as Head Coach and Director of Rugby at Stanford University.
The USA Women’s Eagles also welcome two new interim assistant coaches. John Haggart and Melodie Bosman will join for the fall tour as the USA assistant coaches are occupied in their collegiate coaching responsibilities. Both coaches come with New Zealand Black Fern experience, Haggart having recently served as Assistant Coach in 2022 and Bosman with 17 caps and Rugby World Cup experience in a Black Fern shirt.
Milton Haig began his rugby coaching career in the 1990s where he took up several player/coaching positions. He signed on as a resource coach for New Zealand Rugby in 2002 and was involved with both the New Zealand Colts (U21) and New Zealand Māori before becoming head coach with the Counties Manukau in 2008.
Haig’s success in the role led him to be appointed Head Coach for the Men’s Georgia National Team from 2011 until the end of the RWC in 2019. His leadership helped the team obtain a 100%-win rate in the 2014 season, which qualified the team for the Rugby World Cup. Haig has spent the last 4 years as head coach of the Suntory Sungoliath, a Japanese Top League side. Here, he has applied his player-centric development approach to help the team most recently win 15 out of their 18-game season.
Comments from Interim Head Coach Milton Haig: “It’s an honor to be involved the USA Women’s 15s squad and management. I'm looking forward to helping the squad win games at the Women's WXV2 competition in South Africa. I'm also keen on sharing all of my experience to help players grow and become better both on and off the field, so that we can begin to challenge the top four teams in women's rugby in the future."
Comments from USA Rugby CEO Ross Young: “We’re excited to have Milton, John and Melodie join the USA program this fall. Their collective wealth of experience will help us continue to push the on and off field standards in the program, which was highlighted as the main priority of the playing group. Our first venture into the WXV competition is an important opportunity, and Milton’s extensive test match coaching experience will be an invaluable asset. We are well into the hiring process for the permeant appointment, and the interim staff will provide for smooth transition as we look to bring that person onboard.”