Chichester RFC are looking forward to a new start as they look to bounce back following relegation from the National League.
They have appointed Scott Ashley as new head coach following Rob Lawrence’s decision to move on.
Director of rugby Paul Colley thanked Lawrence for all his hard work and energy in playing and coaching at Chichester RFC over the past seven years.
Colley said: “Rob, a Chichester lad, played for the club all through his mini and junior days and once he went into full-time coaching he strived extremely hard to make Chichester RFC a National League club and was obviously extremely disappointed when we were ultimately relegated.
“CRFC now have the chance to re-group and re-energise.
“There has been mention of being relegated because of a points deduction and being on the wrong end of some decisions. Other teams in our league had points deducted one of them had ten points deducted – neither was relegated.
“Other teams no doubt will have felt aggrieved at decisions going against them from time to time. Ultimately and the players and coaches alike recognise we were relegated because we did not play well enough.
“On our day we could compete with the best in our league but we lacked consistency.
“So a bruising 2016-17 season is behind us but we now have the chance to re-group. The core of the squad are blue and blue and while we may lose a few players the core will stay and the teams that will run out at Oaklands Park will play to a set of values player-led that represents what is to be Chichester player.
“We are very fortunate to be able to announce Scott Ashley as our new head coach. Scott is someone I worked with in the Royal Navy and as a level-three RFU coach and a coach-educator, he brings a wealth of experience.
“Scott is a major in the Royal Marines, has previously been head doach and director of rugby of Gosport & Fareham RFC, lead coach of the RN under-23s and the senior XV forwards’ coach. He is currently the deputy director of rugby of Royal Navy Rugby.”
Colley also revealed Mark Norton would come in as second XV lead coach and academy director, replacing him in the latter role to allow him more time to concentrate on senior rugby.
“Mark also brings a wealth of coaching experience predominantly at youth level – he is currently the lead coach of Hampshire under-17s and comes with an excellent reputation,” Colley said.
“Mark will fulfil a critical role as the conduit between youth and senior rugby. This is something we started to focus on over the past few years and is the lifeblood of our future success.
“We are extremely fortunate to have both Scott and Mark joining us alongside a host of other people who all play their part in delivering rugby at Oaklands Park.
The numbers involved highlights the huge infrastructure and support needed to progress a club of our size. My thanks go to them all for stepping up and assisting in whichever way possible to continue the long and fine tradition of great rugby at Oaklands.
“The support for all our games, particularly at home, are massively important to the team.”
Pre-season matches kick Off with a match versus Thornbury – who are at the same level as Chi and are from Gloucester – on Saturday, August 19. On Thursday 24, the Blues play an evening game versus Guildford from National three.
The regular season starts with a mouth-watering clash with old foes Sevenoaks at home on Saturday, September 2.
Key positions at Chichester RFC: Chairman of Senior Rugby Nick Shopland; Director of Rugby Paul Colley; Head Coach Scott Ashley;
Attack Coach Danny Gray; S&C Coach Aaron Davies; 2nd XV Lead Coach Mark Norton; 2nd/3rd XV Coach John Sawday; 1st/2nd XV Manager Iain Collyer; 3rd XV Coach/Manager David Outen; 4th Team Manager Nigel Creasy; Club Captain Ben Polhill; 1st XV Captain Jack Bentall; 1st XV Vice Captains Richard Adams, Chris Johnson; 2nd XV Captain Jack Knight; 3rd XV Captain Tom Monnington; Head of Physio Services Jamie Thompson; Physio Josh Cowell; Sports Therapist Emily Day; Colts Structure: Academy Director Mark Norton; Head Coach Pony Moore; Coaches Mark Bonnar, Keith Martin; Manager Iain Collyer; Asst Manager Chris Pulleybank; Schools liaison Jon Ward.
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