A farewell to Boof - Grant Henson

One of the most influential people in Counties Manukau rugby is taking a step away from the Union to further his coaching career.

Over the past 33 years no-one has spent more time contributing to the sport in the region than Grant Henson.

As a player Henson debuted in 1998 and played over 101 games for his beloved Steelers and was a first-choice player throughout his career. After retiring from rugby in 2011 he moved into the administration and coaching side of the sport and continued to serve the Union, first as a development officer and later as a coach.

He has been assistant coach for the PIC Steelers for the past seven seasons and proven a popular and talented coach.

Henson has decided to take up a director of rugby position at an Auckland club and will continue to focus on becoming a head coach.

“Since I pulled on my first Counties jersey in U13s, I have had 33 years with the Union,” Henson said. “I had 19 years with the Steelers, so needless to say it was a very sad day for me moving on.

“I have met too many good people to mention that have become very close friends. I am going to miss Counties very much and especially my friends that I bantered with daily in the office, and the people of the community.

“Thank you CMRFU for helping me become who I am today.”

Counties Manukau Rugby Union chief executive Aaron Lawton paid tribute to Henson’s contribution to rugby in the region.

“Boof has been the heart and soul of Counties Manukau rugby for a long time and he will be greatly missed,” Lawton said.

“He was renowned as a tough and uncompromising player and he’s added to that skillset with his endeavours off the field over the past few years.

“While we are sad to see him leave we are also excited for him that he has an opportunity to fulfil his dreams.

“We will always consider Boof family and we wish him well with his career.”

The PIC Steelers have been working on finding a replacement assistant coach and hope to make an announcement about the position in the coming days.