Rugby Thoughts – Coaches, Marketing and Silly Season

This week I talk about the number of coaches, a fun marketing ploy and touch on the transfers.


I saw this tweet from South African Rugby @bokrugby:

 breakdown specialist coach Richie Gray at  training today   

This is the first time that I have heard of a breakdown coach. It’s only relatively recently that clubs and international sides have had  more than one coach and we still see captains runs the day before a game. Obviously most sides now have a forwards, backs/attack, defence and conditioning coaches. Kicking, skills, scrum and set-piece are all fairly common roles as well. So what’s the most specialised or esoteric coaching role you have heard of in Rugby?

On a side note when the All Blacks were in Chicago they visited an American Football and the NFL players couldn’t believe how few coaches the All Blacks have.


We need as much innovative marketing as possible to make lots of noise about rugby. I liked Tigers “On your doorstep since 1880” hoarding near Wasps new ground. As long as it is meant and taken in the right spirit then it’s all good as it has raised awareness of the game. Hopefully Wasps can come up with something in response and have some fun with it. If you haven’t seen it the Telegraph did an article on it.


We are well and truly into transfer or silly season and there are two things that are making it even sillier this year. Being a world cup year there are more and higher profile players available especially from New Zealand and Australia. Also the second marque player being introduced to the Premiership rules allows for a big non-premiership signing for each team.

The number of announcements and rumours are far too many to mention and just about every fans forum has a thread discussing what positions they need and who they would like. It is all good fun barroom chat but we need to remember that the teams that tend to do best are those with a settled coaching setup and squad. Obviously squads need new players but 6 to 8 players is the right amount to replace retired,moving on players and keep it fresh whilst not disrupting squad unity and culture.

For example it’s taken Bath 2-3 years to settle their squad down and make a concerted push at the top of the table. Gloucester brought in several big names over last summer and have struggled to get the performances the names suggest. As long as they stick with things it could come good over the next couple of years but it will take that time.

So yes, it is good fun barroom chat but it’s the retention of players and coaches with a few new players that will lead to success, not a big list of new names.

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