Position: Head Coach

Hometown: Dunedin, New Zealand

Ryan Martin joins the Free Jacks for the 2021 MLR season with an impressive coaching pedigree from the winningest rugby nation in the world — New Zealand. 

An expert in skill acquisition, creator in novel attacking systems, and  experienced educator with a 17 year background in teaching; his experiences across all levels of the game combined with a passion for coaching and developing players, position Martin to lead the Free Jacks for the upcoming MLR season while helping to develop the game across New England.

A former schoolteacher, Martin began his coaching career at the Under 10 level in 2008. In 2011, Martin became coach of his alma mater Otago Boys High School, and in 2012 led the team to the national finals. In his 5 years in that role Martin maintained the team’s position in the top echelon of New Zealand Rugby and won 64 games on the trot. In 2016, Martin was nationally recognized and assumed the head coaching role of the New Zealand Barbarians Schools side, working with the future talent of New Zealand Rugby at the international level where he led the Baba’s to 2/2 records against both Australia Schools and Fiji Schools. 

It was in 2018 while juggling multiple positions and a school teaching job when Martin was called up to the Otago Mitre 10 side as attack coach. Martin’s lane based attacking strategy played a key role to Otago winning the Ranfurly shield in 2018, an endeavor that included 2020 Free Jacks captain Josh Larsen. Otago went on to retain the Ranfurly shield for 9 matches.

Most recently while with the Melbourne Rebels, Martin has taken advantage of the Super Rugby team’s shared training ground with the Melbourne Storm and incorporated elements of rugby league into his attacking systems. Working with colleagues such as innovative defense coach Ben Herring, mastermind David Wessels and former British and Irish Lion, Geoff Parling, Martin has enhanced his talents as a coach and will lend those skills to the Free Jacks’ on field performance. 

Education of a Coach

Studied Physical education at Dunedin Teachers College


Ryan is recently engaged to his partner of 14 years, Courtney Dunn and has a stepson Tom who is 14 and daughter Courtney who is 21 and studying law at Otago University. 

Extra Points

  1. Ryan captained the Otago Boys High 1st XV in 1998 that All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw played on; they went on to win the New Zealand national title for rugby that year. 
  2. After being told he was too small to play rugby, he gained 65 lbs in one pre-season; going from 135lbs to 200lbs. Talk about some beef!
  3. If it weren’t for rugby, he’d likely be a pro surfer – Ryan has spent quite a bit of time in Bali surfing the waves on his favorite beaches. We’ve confirmed that New England swells aren’t what they are in the South Pacific. 
  4. Expect to hear a few Beatles songs blaring from the stadium as Ryan brings a coveted collection of albums and LPs to Boston as one of the biggest fans around. 
  5. Ryan has committed to supporting the Free Jacks Fire Foundation as his charity of choice. With this selection, Ryan is committing to supporting the Foundation in its mission to increase opportunities to play the game. Ryan will volunteer his time growing the game and developing rugby in New England on and off the field as part of his commitment to the Foundation.

Head Coach