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England Counties XV call-up for 'old boy' Jan Bonney

06 January 2010

  • Bonney returns to the fold as England Counties backs coach
  • The former centre succeeds old boss Borthwick

Jan Bonney, who has been appointed as the new backs coach for the England Counties XV

Photo: Getty Images

Jan Bonney, a former North Midlands player during his career at Moseley and currently Manager of the Saracens Academy, has been appointed as the new Backs Coach for the England Counties XV, the representative flagship of the community game in England.

In choosing the 38-year-old former Esher, London Scottish, Moseley and Middlesex centre, who represented England at Under 19 and Under 21 level, the counties have gone to one of their ‘old boys’ in selecting the replacement for Tom Borthwick, who took the post on a ‘one-off’ basis at short notice for the trip to Korea and Japan last year.

Bonney was in the inaugural counties squad that toured Chile in 2002, which Borthwick coached, and then played the following year against Romania and France at Blagnac and Henley.

A former Rugby Development Officer for Middlesex, he has been with Saracens for three years having previously spent two years with London Irish Academy.

"I applied for the job because I wanted to expand my coaching knowledge and it’s not every day that you get a chance to coach an international team," he said.

"The Counties XV is an opportunity for players to step up a level from what they are used to and to wear an England shirt. I remember well how excited I was about making the trip to Chile and how it all lived up to expectations.

"Touring in a new country and making new friends is always a special experience, as is working with new players and different coaches and playing on an international stage for the first time. I was one of the senior players on that trip, but watching a youngster like Dave Strettle coming through was another element that added to the enjoyment of it all.

"To be selected in the first place is of course recognition of the guys themselves. We’re choosing players who are in form in the leagues and while some will have played at high levels like the Premiership, basically we are dealing with lads who have been doing well for their clubs."

Experience of touring with the counties and other squads is one thing Bonney believes will enable him to settle into a smooth working relationship with forwards coach Dave Baldwin.

"It’s a challenge for the coaches, but it’s also exciting and stimulating. My understanding is that the Counties XV has moved ahead a good deal since we started and I’m very excited about being back in the fold. I’m looking forward to working with a good squad of talented players."

Counties XV Manager Danny Hodgson praised Bonney's ability and added: “We had a very high calibre of applications for the post, which reflects the growing reputation of the Counties XV and the way we have progressed.

"Everyone interviewed really well and Jan came out as our choice. He’s very enthusiastic and having been with the Counties previously, he has an understanding of how we work and what we seek to achieve. He’ll do well."

The Counties XV entertain an Ireland Club XV at Stourbridge on February 26, 2010 (7.30) and then take on France Amateurs in Lille on March 19, 2010.