Tom Donnelly

Highlanders Coaching Debut - 2023

Assistant Coach

Tom Donnelly, Otago NPC Coach, joins the Highlanders as Forwards coach for two years from 2023.

Donnelly played 65 games for the Highlanders between 2004-2011 as lock forward and 15 games for the All Blacks in 2009-10. His association with Otago began in 2002 as a fresh faced 21-year-old going on to play 82 matches for the blue and gold before heading overseas in 2014 to play in France.

He returned in 2017 to take up an assistant coaching role under Cory Brown before taking on the Head Coach role in 2020. His coaching experience also includes an assistant role with the NZ U20 in 2021 before heading up the coaching group this year and leading the team to an Oceania championship.

Donnelly is looking forward to taking up the challenge of coaching at the next level.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity that the Highlanders have given me to join their coaching staff.  I love representing this region and it’s a real privilege and honour to be involved with an organisation that means so much to me. I’m looking forward to this new challenge at Super Rugby level and it’s a real positive that while coaching Otago I have been fortunate to have already worked with many of the Highlanders players and coaching staff.  Now I just want to get stuck into the challenges that lie ahead and contribute to a successful 2023 Super Rugby campaign.” 

Other Coaching Roles

Otago NPC - Assistant Coach (2017-19)

Otago NPC - Head Coach (2020 - current)

NZ U20's - Assistant Coach (2021)

NZ U20's - Head Coach (2022) 

Tom Donnelly