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Coaching initiative pays handsome dividends in Ashington

19 October 2012

  • Northumberland C of E Academy warms to RU coaching input  
  • And Ashington RFC benefits from new influx of players 

Rugby Union development in Ashington, Northumberland has been making huge strides of late thanks to interaction between RFU Development Staff, Ashington RFC and the Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA) which has three campuses in the town.

The flourishing links between the club and the NCEA are the product of a Community Rugby Coach initiative at the school and early evidence suggests that the enthusiasm of the pupils could result in three new teams at Under 13, Under 15 and Colts being in place at Ashington RFC in the near future.

Around 40 players attended a training session this week and those numbers augur well for a thriving link in the future which will see a non-rugby playing school transformed into an emerging school and developing a sustainable link to a club.

The arrival of a new influx of players, of course, puts an onus on the RFU and Ashington RFC to give coach development a priority and this crucial part of the equation is also coming together well.

Along with this the club have had 15 coaches attending a Scrum Factory course after completing their Rugby Ready coaching, which will leave them with the potential to have a Level 2 coaching team in place to work with these new NCEA driven teams.

The development of a Level 2 coaching provision at Ashington is only a part of a wider Rugby Development Team effort to strengthen a county-wide coaching team across the club spectrum.

“We’ve been busy over the last two months preparing coaches in the Northumberland clubs for the Level 2 courses coming up.” said Northumberland Rugby Development Officer Dave Reed. “Despite all of the accreditation meetings and club development workshops we delivered last season it was clear there is a shortage in Level 2 coaches in the Northumberland clubs.

“So we decided that we would cluster the clubs and deliver Rugby Ready and Scrum Factory sessions during August and September. Statistics show that we had contact with 201 coaches in the two sections, which even if one coach attended both elements, we would still leave us with 100 new coaches equipped to tackle the Level 2 programme.

“The key thing now is turning these coaches into good Level 2 coaches and I’m confident the support and mentoring they will get from CRC’s will be a crucial part of the project. Obviously a lot of people have contributed to this overall success and a big vote of thanks is due to the CCCs in the clubs, to the clubs for the use of their facilities and also to Northumberland RU Coaching Committee for their continued support.”

Said Andy Blight, Director of Sport at NCEA: “Through our partnership with the RFU and Ashington RFC, we are developing rugby for all our learners at NCEA. The uptake at after-school clubs both in primary and secondary has been excellent since September.

“Mark Watson (CRC) has inspired the learners in curriculum time and Pete O'Brien (Ashington RFC) has helped Mark deliver after-school clubs providing an excellent link to the club environment.”