Eal­ing call Buck­land back from rugby wilder­ness

The Rugby Paper - - News - NEALE HAR­VEY

JAMES Buck­land has vowed to make the most of a ‘fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity’ after be­ing sum­moned from the coach­ing wilder­ness to lead Eal­ing’s pro­mo­tion charge.

Eal­ing wasted no time ap­point­ing Buck­land, 36, fol­low­ing Alex Codling’s de­par­ture to Har­lequins – a move that shocked the for­mer Eng­land Sax­ons hooker who had failed to land a top coach­ing role since the demise of Lon­don Welsh last year. Head coach Buck­land,

right, who coached at Lon­don Scot­tish and Lon­don Ir­ish be­fore join­ing Welsh in 2015, told TRP: “I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it and it’s been a bit of a whirl­wind, but it’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity based on where Eal­ing are cur­rently at.

“I’ve waited a long time for a chance like this since Lon­don Welsh went un­der and it shows how fickle this game can be. I’d set­tled back into the ‘real world’ do­ing con­struc­tion man­age­ment and was plan­ning to coach part-time, but sud­denly this comes up. “I in­ter­viewed for some big jobs and the feed­back was al­ways, ‘We re­ally like your rugby but you don’t have the nec­es­sary level of ex­pe­ri­ence’, which is al­ways dif­fi­cult to take when you know you’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing those par­tic­u­lar jobs to a very high stan­dard. “But to have an op­por­tu­nity now at a club like Eal­ing that wants to push to a higher level is as good a chance as you’d want and ev­ery­one’s push­ing in the same di­rec­tion. The po­ten­tial here is re­ally ex­cit­ing and it’s a chal­lenge I’m ready to get stuck into.”

Codling’s are big boots to fill, but for­mer Le­ices­ter, Wasps and Lon­don Ir­ish man added: “I’ve learnt lessons wher­ever I’ve been and picked up a lot of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the Cham­pi­onship and Na­tional One. I’ve only been at the club a few days but al­ready I’ve been im­pressed with what I’ve seen and we’ve got a fan­tas­tic squad of play­ers to work with.”

Eal­ing’s turnover has been huge, with 29 new play­ers ar­riv­ing, but Buck­land said: “We’ll hope to mould a very ef­fec­tive pack that will al­low us to play a pos­i­tive brand of rugby and get a bal­ance that al­lows us to play how we want to in the mid­dle of win­ter.

“There are lots of new play­ers but we’ll do as much team­work as we can to get guys com­fort­able to­gether.”

Eal­ing face an open­ing day home clash with ti­tle favourites Ir­ish, with Buck­land adding: “Ir­ish com­ing down armed with the parachute pay­ment will aim to go straight back up, but they’ll not be the only ones tar­get­ing their first game for a win.

“We’re am­bi­tious, Coven­try are com­ing up at a rate of knots and you’d put York­shire Carnegie, Cornish Pi­rates and Bed­ford among teams look­ing to chal­lenge as well, so we’ll try and en­sure that Lon­don Ir­ish do not have things their own way.”

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