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