Former Wales international Andrew Powell takes on coaching role at Southwell Rugby Club
A former international rugby player has joined Southwell.
Former Wales number eight Andrew Powell has accepted a coaching rule at Southwell Rugby Club.
The 39-year-old, who boasts the likes of Leicester Tigers, Wasps and Sale Sharks on his playing CV, joins the Redmen after a spell at Brecon.
He said: “I’m excited to be joining the club and starting a new chapter in my coaching career.
“Enjoyment is key and Southwell offers the facilities to allow all of it’s members of any age the ability to enjoy rugby.
“My focus will be on improving the rugby development across the club.
“In particular the integration of our juniors transitioning into senior rugby.”
Southwell Chairman Andrew Smith said having the experience of the former international would be a huge boost.
“He has worked with some major coaches in the game, including the likes of Warren Gatland, and he has been coaching at Brecon in South Wales, so he has experience himself,” said Smith.
“He has recently moved back to this area to be closer to his family and he took the opportunity to come and coach at Southwell.
“The kids and the seniors will jump at the chance to work with a former pro.
“He is still young and he is still very relevant in the game having retired not too long ago.
“As a chairman I would like to think players might be drawn into the club (because of him) and they would want to be coached by a former international player.
“Somebody of his stature and with his coaching ability would attract seniors and juniors.”
Smith explained Powell’s role as head coach would be similar to that of Josh Barlow, the club’s former coach, who moved on earlier in the year.
“Predominantly he will look after the first teamers and the senior sides, but the plan is for him to take over the whole coaching set up at the club,” said Smith.
“That will include mentoring the junior coaches as well.
“He will obviously pass on his knowledge and give advice to them if they need it — it is just great to have somebody like him around at the club.”
Powell earned his first Wales cap against South Africa in 2008 where he won man of the match.
He enjoyed a notable five-year spell at Cardiff Blues and finished his career at Merthyr just over a year after joining due to a knee injury.
As lockdown restrictions lifted on Monday, it marked a return to the sport for many of Southwell’s senior and juniors.
It is expected a full season will begin as usual in 2021 once England reaches the final stage of its lockdown measures.
Smith said he looked forward to the return to competitive action at Park Lane.
He said: “We got promoted (to the Midlands Two East North) over a year ago now and we haven’t played any senior rugby in that time.
“We want to hold our position within our new league and then see where we can progress to from there.”
The promotion means neighbours Newark and Southwell will go head-to-head in the league again.