Coach­ing set-up is com­pleted as Smith heads to Arms Park

Western Mail - - SPORT - SI­MON THOMAS Rugby cor­re­spon­dent si­mon.thomas@waleson­line.co.uk

CARDIFF Blues have com­pleted their coach­ing staff for next sea­son with Tom Smith join­ing the re­gion as for­wards coach.

The former Ospreys flanker is the sec­ond ad­di­tion to John Mul­vi­hill’s new-look regime fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of Jason Strange as backs coach.

Cur­rent de­fence coach Richard Hodges will con­tinue in his role, while academy for­wards coach Duane Good­field is step­ping up to be­come scrum coach.

Aussie Mul­vi­hill, who takes up his post as suc­ces­sor to Danny Wil­son next month, says the young Welsh­men who will make up his back-room team have just the right qual­i­ties.

“In for­mat­ting our new coach­ing group, I was aware of my re­spon­si­bil­ity to build on the foun­da­tions of the past, look clearly to the fu­ture and bring en­ergy, knowl­edge and ex­cite­ment to our team,” he said.

“I al­ways wanted the best coaches in our pro­gram and I am very ex­cited that we have four young Welsh coaches who are am­bi­tious, knowl­edge­able and ex­cited about our fu­ture.

“Tom Smith and Jason Strange are ex­cit­ing ad­di­tions to our group, both pos­sess­ing ex­cel­lent rugby in­tel­lect. They have worked for years de­vel­op­ing play­ers of the fu­ture and are am­bi­tious driven young coaches.

“Richard Hodges and Duane Good­field are both re­spected coaches who have his­tory within our play­ing group and un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­ity they have to con­tin­u­ally im­prove our play­ers to help them reach their po­ten­tial.

“All four coaches pos­sess great work ethic and knowl­edge, my job will be to en­cour­age each coach to ex­tend them­selves pro­fes­sion­ally to best serve the team.

“Hon­esty, in­tegrity and work ethic are the qual­i­ties we need to build our coach­ing cul­ture at the Cardiff Blues. I be­lieve that these men have the right qual­i­ties we need to build a win­ning team and cul­ture for the fu­ture.”

Smith made 94 ap­pear­ances for the Ospreys dur­ing his play­ing ca­reer be­fore be­ing forced to re­tire due to a se­ri­ous knee in­jury.

He went on to be­come Elite Per­for­mance Man­ager and for­wards skills coach at the re­gion and has also headed up their An­glo-Welsh Cup team.

Now, at 32, he is tak­ing up a fresh chal­lenge at the Arms Park.

“This is not only a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for me to take the next step in my de­vel­op­ment as a coach, but it’s also a very ex­cit­ing time for Cardiff Blues with a new coach­ing team com­ing to­gether to build upon the good work Danny Wil­son has done,” he said.

“A lot has been made about coach­ing de­vel­op­ment in Wales so it is great to see Cardiff Blues sup­port­ing home grown tal­ent and I am de­lighted to be a part of that.

“There is a great blend to the squad with so much young, ex­cit­ing tal­ent and I still be­lieve there is plenty of room for im­prove­ment.

“I want to de­velop a tough, un­com­pro­mis­ing pack that go into ev­ery game fight­ing for ev­ery scrap and com­pet­ing in ev­ery bat­tle, while do­ing all the sim­ple things well.”

Mean­while, Ospreys have ap­pointed Si­mon Church to the strength and con­di­tion­ing team at the Lib­erty.

Church joins the Ospreys after spend­ing five years at the Dragons and will work with the se­nior squad at the re­gion.

He will once again link up with Alex Law­son, head of S&C at the Ospreys, who first ap­pointed him when in the same role at Rod­ney Pa­rade.

Church said: “When the op­por­tu­nity to join the Ospreys was pre­sented to me it was one I couldn’t say no to.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about work­ing with the squad be­ing put to­gether for next sea­son and help­ing to de­liver what Allen Clarke wants from the squad per­for­mance wise”.

> From left: Duane Good­field, Richard Hodges, John Mul­vi­hill, Jason Strange and Tom Smith

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