What was it that got you into coaching?

I’ve always played Rugby, and when I left the army I started coaching at my old club, Walsend RFC,  to help occupy the time and to give me an outside interest. As an ex-serving soldier I struggled to build a relationship with my son, but he started playing rugby and I could see how positively he was responding to the coaches. Even though I had a few years of coaching experience, I had never done any courses, so I decided to attend some CPD and eventually did my coaching award. My understanding of what a coach should be completely changed and I was able to communicate properly with younger children and help make a difference to them.

What’s the most rewarding thing about coaching?

Bringing confidence to those who lacked it, and seeing them improve over such a short space of time.

Tell us about your favourite coaching photo?

I tend to get swept up in the moment and don’t get the chance to take many photos. But what I love to see is kids just having fun, like in this photo. It was taken in January and obviously the weather was freezing and the kids are covered in dirt, but what is more remarkable is that one of these children has Autism and struggles to make friends. I guarantee that you wouldn’t know which one from this photo, and you wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t told you: Rugby breaks down barriers.

As a coach, what are your thoughts about refereeing courses?

I think refereeing courses are vital for anyone wanting to coach. They teach the basic rules as well as how to keep the game flowing to make it fun for kids. Good refereeing also instils the RFU’s Core values in children which is important.