Richie Williams winging in to take charge at Cambridge Rugby Club
PUBLISHED: 07:02 07 February 2018
Time for change at Volac Park at the end of the season
Richie Williams cannot wait to bring a shared philosophy to Cambridge Rugby Club as their new head coach.
The 36-year-old Welshman has been announced as the successor to Ross Stewart, who will leave at the end of the current National League One campaign.
Williams will bring a broad range of experience to Volac Park; he is currently coaching at South Leicester and has a consultancy role with the Hungarian RFU, overseeing all rugby development with the national teams in the eastern European country.
It was former director of rugby Rowland Winter that provided the link to Williams, putting forward the ex-Chinnor player to replace Stewart.
“He [Rowland] said my skillset was one of those that would lend itself quite well to the job,” said Williams.
“I met him a few weeks ago and then Rob Dean [the Cambridge chairman] got in touch and I interviewed two weeks ago and got offered the job the beginning of last week. It’s all happened quite quickly. I coach at South Leicester in National 2N so I didn’t actively go looking for a coaching job.
“I’m aware of the traditions of Cambridge and the history behind the rugby club so it sounds like a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a forward-thinking, ambitious club.
“I’ve been coaching for quite a long time despite my quite young age.
“I have had national League experience, I have worked a lot with international teams, I have worked lots with under-20s players.
“It’s given me a broad range of experience, and helped me reinforce my coaching philosophy. I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve got to do some pretty cool jobs in the time that I’ve been coaching so it’s been a good experience.”
Cambridge chairman Rob Dean said: “Richie brings a wealth of experience developing and managing players, most recently as England Counties under-20’s head coach. In addition, Richie is performance director for the Hungarian national team where he has achieved promotion within the lower international framework.
“We are excited about the future of all levels of rugby at Volac Park and see Richie as a head coach who will enable us to both progress and maintain the values that are important to the club.”
Stewart is stepping down after two years as director of rugby at Cambridge to start a new role with the Northampton Saints Academy under-13s, 14s and 15s, alongside an international role setting up camps to spread the brand and for talent identification purposes.
“I’m hugely disappointed to be leaving,” said Stewart. “My goal was to complete at least three seasons here and be able to implement my philosophy and style on this team and the club.
“However, I am hugely proud of how the club has developed during my time here.
“Due to work commitments I have with the Northampton Saints, myself and the committee agreed that I couldn’t fulfil the director of rugby role to the standard required, and this is the right decision both for myself and the club at this time.
“I’d like to thank the club for giving me this opportunity. They took a punt on me, and hopefully I’ve repaid their faith.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here and will give my all until the end of the season. I hope I may have the opportunity to return in the future, because it’s a great club and I’d love to give it another crack here somewhere down the line.”
And Dean said: “I would like to publicly thank Ross for all the work he has put in at Cambridge; initially keeping the first team in National One last season and progressing from that in the current campaign.
“The young squad that Ross inherited when he arrived at Volac Park has now developed to the point where they are now competing with the top teams in the league, recently beating one of them.
“All at Cambridge wish Ross continued success in his role at Northampton Saints and we look forward to keeping in close contact with him.”