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New coaching structure across all levels at Cambridge Rugby Club

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Simon Thomas, the head of rugby at The Leys School.
Simon Thomas, the head of rugby at The Leys School.

Creating a coaching identity throughout Cambridge Rugby Club will see new structures in place next season.

Simon Thomas and Jack Moran will come in to assist with the Wanderers’ second team, while former captain Stefan Liebenberg will support Cambridge stalwarts Darren Messenger and Toby White to lead the third team.

“We wanted a bit of consistency throughout the senior end of the club and we struggled last season with the second team and the identity they had,” said director of rugby Richie Williams.

“The first priority in the off-season was to make sure we continue with our player development focus throughout the club.

“We thought we could enhance the current coaching team within that Wanderers set-up especially now that Simon Leader has moved on as well.”

Thomas is head of rugby at The Leys School and prior to that worked at Dulwich College in London. He will help Alan Lane, who coached the Wanderers last season and is an RFU community coach in Buckinghamshire.

“Simon comes at things from a really high player development focus so we want to develop those Wanderers players and ultimately make that transition from second team to first team a bit smoother,” said Williams.

“The nature of our second team next year will probably be a younger team than we’ve had in the past so I think having those development coaches in place to upskill the players will work really well.”

Moran was head of rugby at Denstone College in Uttoxeter, but is relocating to Cambridge with his partner.

“Jack has had a lot of experience coaching age grade rugby, and done a lot of stuff with the PDG programme,” said Williams.

“He comes with a really good coaching CV, and I think the three coaches will work really well together to develop those players we’ve got in the Wanderers team at the moment.”

Liebenberg retired from National League rugby at the end of last season and the trio with Messenger and White will bring vast experience to the third team, and an intricate knowledge of Cambridge.

“We were conscious that we did not want the third team to be separate from the other two teams we’ve got at the club,” said Williams.

“With Stef we have Darren Messenger and Toby White - two legends of the club that have played a lot of rugby at Cambridge.

“Ultimately we want there to be a better cohesion between all three teams, both on and off the field. It’s really exciting that we’ve got the senior coaching team in place.”

Rob Conquest will lead the colts team, assisted by new signing Marc Koteczky.

Williams added: “We’ve placed real emphasis on the senior end of the club, both the colts, third, second and first team, and underneath that we’re really mindful of working a bit closer with the mini and junior coaches as well to make sure the pathway is as strong as possible.”

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