Fresh from Fiji where he worked with the National Men’s 7s team as their analyst and skills coach, Chris Davies, Gordon School’s new Head of Rugby is full of enthusiasm for his new role in a school.
As well as bringing with him new training and monitoring techniques, Chris is determined to put girls’ rugby on the map at the co-educational school in West End, Woking.
“I think women’s rugby is a big aspect of the game that needs growing up through the school. There are new opportunities for women’s rugby – it’s growing massively in the UK. Exciting times - and it’s an important aspect of the sport for girls to have the opportunity to play”, commented Chris.
The Welsh-born coach played his junior representative rugby in West Wales before joining the military. While studying for his sports science degree at Exeter University, he played premiership university rugby and after teaching at Hartpury College, worked for London Wasps, the Abu Dhabi Harlequins and the Hong Kong Rugby Union before being appointed as the analyst and skills coach for the Fiji national team. Recently he felt it was time to return to the education sector and his search landed on Gordon’s.
“It was the enthusiasm of the Head Teacher and the area and the school overall; the excellent academic achievements” explained Chris, adding: “I know how driven the students are as well. With mine and the students’ enthusiasm, I hope to create a culture that allows players to express themselves on the pitch and ultimately produce a quality brand of rugby.”
Gordon’s has a proud rugby heritage. Gordonian Jake Ball achieved his first cap as a second row for Wales in the RBS Six Nations in 2014. Paul Hull is a former English Rugby Union international and was head coach of Bristol Rugby.
Last season the school’s first team were Super League Champions and Rugby Super 8 Winners and the U16’s runners-up in the Surrey Cup. The Girls U18s were plate winners in the Christ’s Hospital Sevens and five students were selected to play at County Level.
Chris, who will combine his duties as head of rugby with that of Head of House, says while new innovations in training and monitoring are important, building a relationship with the members of his teams is equally important.
And while he won’t be introducing the haka on the Front Field, he will encourage his teams to sing!
“No they won’t be doing the haka but maybe a song or two of a traditional nature. I have a passion for singing – I think that helped me to blend in to the Fijian environment”!