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Obituary: Geoff Moon

It is with great sorrow that Bristol Bears announce the sudden death at the age of 53 of Geoff Moon.

Geoff was appointed as Bristol’s Academy Manager in the summer of 2006, and he continued in the post until halfway through the 2008-09 season. He arrived at the club with a glowing reputation, having acted as Auckland Blues High Performance and Academy Manager for four years. During this time Auckland Academy produced seven full All Blacks as well as numerous other players who succeeded in the first-class game.

Geoff carried on his excellent work of nurturing young talent during his time at Bristol, and he also assisted in the coaching of the club’s forwards. Amongst those who passed through his hands were Tom Arscott, the Pennycook brothers, Luke Eves, Iain Grieve, James Phillips, Ollie Hayes, Darren Barry, Dave Attwood and Mako Vunipola. The last two of course went on to become full England internationals, while Grieve became a highly respected captain of Bristol.

During the 2007-08 season, Geoff contributed a regular column to Bristol’s matchday programme in which he updated supporters on the progress of the young players in his charge. In his final article of the season, he was able to celebrate a year in which Luke Eves had played for England Under 20s, with lock Josh Brown and hooker Ryan Prosser representing Scotland and Wales Under 20s respectively.

Tom Arscott, James Phillips and Iain Grieve had all established themselves in Bristol’s first team squad, while Arscott and Dave Attwood were involved with England Saxons. Meanwhile, Mako Vunipola, still a member of the Junior Academy, had played for England Under 18s, with Geoff correctly identifying him as “definitely a player for the future.”   

When he returned to New Zealand, Geoff acted as Assistant Coach at Auckland Blues in 2016 and 2017 and coached at Aorere College and De La Salle College. He was named Auckland Premier Coach of the Year in 2011. He then became a highly effective and successful Director of Rugby at Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland. At the time of his death, Geoff was in Parma, on a brief coaching assignment at Viadana.

All at Bristol Bears send heartfelt condolences to Geoff’s family and his many friends in the rugby community and beyond at this very sad time.