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Exciting new coaching team in place at Heath

Exciting new coaching team in place at Heath

Tracey Spuyman23 May - 09:55
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The Club marked the end of a successful season for the seniors, vets and Colts with a BBQ celebration ...

It also marked the end of an era as Martin Mactaggart is standing down as Lead Coach of the senior squad after six years, the last two while living and working in The Midlands showing his much appreciated commitment and dedication to the Club. During his time at Heath, Mactaggart played a significant role in rebuilding the squad post Covid and developing a blend of youth and experience as Heath has been able to support the development of both 1st and 2nd teams at senior level.

Mactaggart leaves with Heath in a very good place having secured promotion to Surrey/Sussex 1 by winning the Counties 2 Sussex league, while the Colts put in another series of brilliant performances to secure both the Sussex league and cup for the second year running. This bodes well for the future with a pipeline of homegrown talent moving through to Heath seniors next season. The Heath Vets contributed to a great season as well winning the Sussex Cup and supplying players to the senior squad when needed.

From the start of pre-season training in July, Graham Childs, former professional rugby player who has coached juniors and seniors at Heath since 2012, working most recently as assistant coach to Mactaggart and coaching last season’s Sussex U18s, is taking over as Lead Coach at HHRFC. Childs brings a strong rugby CV having played at as a professional at London Wasps and with Newcastle Falcons where he won the Premiership title in 1997. He has represented at the highest levels – on the England Tour of Argentina 1990, England B international, North of England and London Division.

Childs said “Following our squad’s hard fought but deserved promotion into Sussex / Surrey Div 1 for next season, the Club is excited to step up a level while maintaining our underlying philosophy of creating team spirit and having fun. It is our ambition to create a robust squad providing league rugby for both our first and second teams. Creating competition for places will be key as we integrate our experienced senior players with our incredibly successful Colts teams. With our current on field success across all age groups and our fantastic new Clubhouse ready later in Autumn this year, the future looks bright for Heath on and off the pitch.”

Childs will be assisted by Marc Pope who alongside over 13 years of coaching junior rugby, brings experience gained playing professionally in New Zealand and Scotland. An outstanding number 8 in his prime, he won the Hokkaido Championship in Japan and played for West of Scotland Rugby playing in Scottish Premiership until 2005. His coaching pedigree included Cambuslang and West of Scotland Rugby in the Scottish Premiership until as recently as 2014. In addition, the team is boosted by James Leggett, who started as an U6 at Heath, has coached London Irish and is currently rugby coach at Hurst College. The quintet is completed by former Heath junior and county player Matt Jenkins who coached the Colts this year and Josh Drauniniu, the former Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins professional who as an attacking winger played in England 7s squad until 2011.

The Club is delighted to have secured such a strong first class, ambitious and supportive coaching team with relevant experience for the 2024/25 season. Anyone looking to get fit this summer or join a friendly rugby club should take a closer look at HHRFC or email Pre-season training starts in July and is running throughout the summer - players of all ages and experience are welcome.

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