Why not a home grown coach?

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Why not a home grown coach?

Post by fleabane » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:53 pm

From The Times 9 Jan 2018, extract from an article by Owen Slot:

This may have escaped the attention of many, but it is not without significance. After the 63-year-old Jacques Brunel was plucked from the position of head coach of Bordeaux to run the national team, he was replaced last week at Bordeaux by Rory Teague, who is 32 years old and English.

You could have been forgiven for supposing that coaching development in English rugby had ground to a halt. After all, when Northampton Saints needed a fresh new supremo, they whistled up Alan Gaffney, who is 71 and Australian. Gaffney arrived in time for the new year, less than a fortnight after Worcester Warriors had confirmed that their new director of rugby was to be Alan Solomons, who is 67 and South African.

The reluctance of English clubs to embrace English leadership may be sad. Yet there we were, wondering if anyone would appoint an Englishman as head coach again, and it falls to a French club to do so.

This tells you many things. The hard truth, though, is that English coaching is in good health and French coaching is not. The French national team is slipping behind the rest of Europe at a worrying pace and, of the many reasons why, their coaching is pretty high on the list.

Bordeaux understood the value and quality of their English-speaking coaches. Teague was promoted from a group that includes Joe Worsley, the defence coach, and Jeremy Davidson, the Irishman and 1997 Lion, who runs the forwards.

You won’t see a more sweeping statement on the state of coaching in France than the elite coaching group assembled by Vern Cotter when he left Scotland, at the end of last season, for Montpellier. Cotter is a fluent French speaker, so it was not as if he wanted or needed English-speakers around him, and he was formerly head coach of Clermont Auvergne, so he knows the environment as well as anyone. And the group that he recruited to bring with him to the south of France were Alex King (English), Richie Gray (Scottish), Nathan Hines (an Aussie Scot) and Ian Vass (English).

Vass is regarded as one of the brightest up-and-coming English coaches. Note that Cotter opted for him — a Saracens academy coach — ahead of any Frenchman. Note also that this anglophone coaching group have their team top of the Top 14.

You may recall, also, that Wales wanted King but Montpellier got him first. King and Teague are two of the most exciting young English coaches but there is a growing list, including, in no particular order, Alex Sanderson and Joe Shaw from Saracens, Ali Hepher (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Richmond (Sale Sharks), Dave Walder (Newcastle Falcons) and Sam Vesty (Worcester).

Maybe it is a shame that both Northampton and Worcester felt that they had to look abroad to plug their gaps, though the decisions on both counts are perfectly understandable. However, it is not as if English coaching talent is not bubbling through. Of all the above, Hepher is closest to being offered a director of rugby title as the head coach of the champions Exeter. If he wants it, his time will come.

The next noted generation of up-and-coming English coaches were rewarded last month. Anthony Allen (Leicester academy coach) and James Ponton (Newcastle academy) were among those invited to join the England Under-20 coaching team, part-time, as part of the RFU’s coaching development programme. Vass was on this programme last year. Teague was an England Under-20 coach only two years ago.

In other words, there is a tried and tested pathway, here, a system designed to give coaches learning and experience beyond what came second nature to them as players. This is where France is light years behind. One of the clichés among modern players is their desire to learn every day. If there is one way to infuriate a player, then it is to give him a coach from who he does not learn. And the surest way to create such a coach is to promote them from within the team, from senior player to coach, without extra learning or experience, because that is when you get a coach who can only regurgitate the lessons that he himself was taught. That is the process from which so many French coaches are created.

Last week, Brunel appointed his assistant coaches and his announcement was greeted with gasps. Sébastien Bruno has been a forwards coach with Lyons for two-and-a-half seasons and has some pedigree; Jean-Baptiste Élissalde was a Toulouse player almost all his career, then became a Toulouse coach, and he knows the Toulouse way but probably not a lot else. He is highly liked but regarded as one of those players who played liked a genius but, as a coach, struggles to explain how. The lineout coach, meanwhile, is Julien Bonnaire who retired only last season and has little to no coaching experience at all.

Bernard Jackman, the Irishman formerly head coach of Grenoble, knows the French scene as well as any. When asked his view of the new coaching team, he said it was “slapped together”, that “it hasn’t inspired confidence,” and that “all those players going into the national squad will know that the environment is equipped with less experienced coaches than the one that’s been sacked.” Ouch.

One problem the French faced was the cost of buying bigger-name coaches out of their contracts. Another, according to Jackman, was the reluctance to work with the national team. “Is it something that’s going to boost your CV?,” he asked, “or harm your career?”

Either way, the coaching team assembled by France for the forthcoming NatWest Six Nations Championships is less experienced and less proven than all five of their opposition teams. France have long been on the slide; it would be an extraordinary achievement if this coaching team managed to halt it.
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Re: Why not a home grown coach?

Post by mol2 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:00 am

Home grown as in English or home grown as in Ex-Tigers?

No problem withthe former, but the latter would seem to be lacking in outstanding candidates.

Possibly Deano? He's been gone long enough to be entirely free of the baggage that weighs down the internal appointments.

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Re: Why not a home grown coach?

Post by sam16111986 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:31 pm

I think Tigers have previously arranged for coaches to go and experience other environments. I think Blaze went to NZ and Murphy to Aus, Louis Deacon coached with Spain and England under 20s (I think he's now with our academy) and now Allen is with England under 20s.

Fresh ideas are what helps drive a team forward and we look out of those at the minute. Mauger was a favourite of the players because he helped them develop themselves, particularly in terms of their core skills. That seems to have slipped back this season. It's a shame he couldn't have worked under a DOR who had vision but more experience of guiding a team.

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Re: Why not a home grown coach?

Post by strawclearer » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:49 pm

I'd happily have Deano, Leo Cullen and Sam Vesty at Welford Road - and that's got nothing to do with them being ex-Tigers.
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Re: Why not a home grown coach?

Post by Knightonian » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:34 pm

Louis Deacon's at Cov

If I remember correctly:

The international swaps came in a few years ago and they all visited a club for a week I think we've also visited South Africa and the Reds in Australia

Personally I think it's a great idea but we may want to start closer to home like Munster, Ulster and Exeter and Sarries

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Re: Why not a home grown coach?

Post by sapajo » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:04 pm

Not interested in where a coach comes from its ability that matters and that has never been a priority .
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