Eddie Jones says English coaches are insular, but a number of coaches are already making an impact beyond the country’s borders. We take a look at how a number have already proven themselves in Europe or the southern hemisphere.
Former England and Lions flanker Worsley took the step into coaching with Bordeuax-Begles as their defence coach back in May 2012. They are currently 7th in the Top 14, their joint highest ever positioning in the league with the 4th least amount of points conceded out of all 14 sides. Having qualified for the Champions Cup last season, they narrowly lost out on a quarter-final spot to pool winners Exeter Chiefs.
The side have not won the Top 14 since 1991 when they defeated Toulouse in the final, and as they continue to improve, Worsley will be at the heart of all their success.
Former England Sevens coach Friday led the Kenyan national sevens team from one year to 2012 to 2013, where he led them to the final of the Wellington Sevens competition, losing to England 24-19 in the final. They finished the season with 99 World Series points, their highest ever total. Friday switched to coaching the USA sevens team in 2014 and they are currently 5th in the World Series rankings, their joint-highest position in the history of the competition.
Like Friday, former Engand Sevens coach Ryan has made a significant impact since moving on from his home country. He took over as Fiji Sevens head coach in September 2013 and since that time won the World Series tournament in his second season in charge, only the second time they had ever won the trophy. Fiji are currently clear leaders at the top of the World Series rankings and go into the Olympics with a significant chance of achieving a gold medal.
Former England Sevens legend Gollings is currently head coach of China’s women sevens programme, after businessman Jack Ma has pledged to invest millions into the sport in the economic powerhouse. China have one last chance at a shot of qualifying for the Olympics through a qualification tournament taking place in Dublin in June. With 16 teams competiting a final spot, it would be a big ask for China to qualify, but never say never.
Coaches that have spent time abroad
Even though the number of coaches currently working abroad is limited, many have spent time abroad before returning home. Steve Borthwick made his name working with Eddie Jones’ Japan before signing up to the England forwards position earlier this year.
Saracens’ Alex Sanderson – who had to retire at the age of 26 due to a severe back injury – has spent time with Queensland Reds before returning to England to take up a position with Saracens. He is their current forwards coach after the departure of Paul Gustard to the England set-up.
Dean Richards, who achieved double European success with Leicester and rejuvenated a once-relegated Harlequins side, spent a season at French side Grenoble before returning to England to coach Harlequins.
Alex King and an established name in the Premiership with Saints, spent time coaching in France. King worked as Clermont Auvergne’s backs coach for five seasons. At the time of his appointment to Saints, King said (via Sky Sports):
“I’ve had an amazing six years in France as a player and a coach. I have learned a great deal by working with great coaches like Vern Cotter, Joe Schmidt and Franck Azema.”
“I feel that I am more knowledgeable about the sport and hopefully I can bring that to Northampton.”
Although Eddie Jones makes a fair point about English coaches needing to work abroad to gain experience, there are already a number who have tasted life beyond English borders and are succeding in England, Europe and beyond. Yet, when you consider the number of Antipodeans and South Africans coaching clubs and national sides across the world, there’s still some way to go to match their prowess.
Read More About: Alex King, alex sanderson, begles-bordeaux, ben gollings, ben ryan, Bordeaux-Begles, China, clermont auvergne, Dean Richards, eddie jones, england rugby, Fiji, franck azema, Harlequins, Joe Schmidt, joe worsley, Kenya, leicester, mike friday, Northampton, olympics, Steve Borthwick, usa, vern cotter