RUGBY: Danny's new brains trust

This Is Wiltshire: Chippenham head coach Danny Thomas Chippenham head coach Danny Thomas

CHIPPENHAM head coach Danny Thomas believes his club will reap the benefits of a new high-quality coaching team as they aim to bounce back to National League level rugby.

The Allington Field club, relegated from National Three South West to South West One East at the end of last season unveiled their new set-up this week, Thomas heading up a group that includes Cardiff Blues skills coach Andi Kyriacou and Bath Rugby academy coach Jack Howden.

University of Bath and Filton College coach Shaun Williams also joins alongside Howden, who currently works with Bath academy’s elite player development group and Kyriacou, who lives in Sutton Benger.

The club have also taken steps to beef up the development of their young players, with long-standing club coaches Richard Gaunt, Sean Atkins, Paul Matthews and Kevin Tillotson.

Former junior and development squad manager Steve Whitehead takes over as first team manager, following the departure of senior playing chairman Kevin Snape, who later became Corsham's director of rugby, last season.

Thomas (pictured), who took over as head coach last summer after Jason Forster’s departure, said: “It’s exciting because it is a good quality coaching group, who have coached at a high level.

“Hopefully, people will see that and will help us attract more players as well.

“Andi and Jack won’t be available on some Saturdays, but they are available for coaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays and everybody can bounce off each other, which can filter down and benefit everybody at the club.

“The dynamics are good, the important thing is everybody learns off each other and I think it will work.’’

Kyriacou, who will continue to work with Pro 12 side Cardiff Blues, played top-flight for Sale Sharks, Leeds and Saracens and well as Irish provinces Munster and Ulster, going on to play for the Irish Wolfhounds.

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