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Developing homegrown talent is the focus for Shelford Rugby Club




Shelford director of rugby and head coach Will Cotterill. Picture: Steven Illingworth
Shelford director of rugby and head coach Will Cotterill. Picture: Steven Illingworth

Building a sustainable rugby programme at Shelford is the primary focus of Will Cotterill.

The director of rugby has been putting in place plans for the new season, whenever that may be, and central to that will be building on the foundations already in place.

The early curtailment of their London League 1N season meant they missed the final four matches, three of which were due to be at home, but while it was a big loss financially, they have been able to ride through that.

“The financial management of the club has been done very well,” said Cotterill.

“We haven’t got a massive playing roster that we need to look after with regards to players on retainers and things like that.

“We see this from that point of view as a good regrouping phase for the players to get everyone back on par.

“A squad of 45 to 50 players that can represent Shelford at first and second XV level and build that sustainable rugby programme that the club can afford rather than trying to reach out and overextend ourselves just so we can perform at a higher level.

“I think we can get back into the National Leagues with the squad we’ve got without having to overextend ourselves financially.”

There were promising signs for Shelford with a good run of form after Christmas, and the signals are encouraging that most of the squad will return for the next campaign.

The exceptions to the rule are likely to be those moving out of the area or going to university.

But the combined approach for the first team and the Nomads will also be a bonus.

“We’re more than ready to compete with the playing group we’ve got and having the coaching and management teams pulled together is only going to help strengthen the players abilities to do the job at the weekend,” said Cotterill.

“I think we’re in a very good position there. Tony (Begovich, who oversees strength and conditioning) and I have planned out the whole pre-season so our training blocks are in place already.”

The RFU issued a six-stage road map detailing a return for the community rugby game, and it is currently at the second phase, B, so when competition will be back is still unknown.

But Shelford are expecting to be joined in the division by London Welsh, Hammersmith & Fulham and potentially Leighton Buzzard.



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