BARNSTAPLE have moved quickly to replace Danny Thomas after the news their head coach has left the club.
In a shake-up to the management team at Pottington Road, Steve Perry has joined as the new player/coach.
Perry, the former Launceston player, will work as backs coach alongside Kevin Squire, the director of rugby, and Tom Skelding the newly appointed forwards coach.
It has been a busy week for Barum as they prepare for the new season in National Three South West.
Squire believes they have found the ideal replacement for Thomas, the Bristol-based coach, who has stepped down due to work commitments.
"We were disappointed to be losing Danny but we've probably got a more rounded management trio now," he said.
Perry, 31, comes with a reputation as strong coach and a versatile back-row player with Championship experience.
"He was everyone's favourite to take over as head coach at Launceston when Tony Roques retired at the end of last season," said Squire.
"He was overlooked for that role and Launceston's loss is Barnstaple's gain because we're absolutely delighted to get him on board.
"Not only will we benefit from his coaching ability but we'll also benefit from him playing on a weekly basis."
Skelding, the former Plymouth Albion player, will coach the forwards and is set to continue playing a key role on the field.
Thomas joined Barnstaple in 2010 and worked with Squire last season when the director of rugby returned to the club after a season out.
"It is with much disappointment Danny has decided with work commitments, he is not going to be able to continue his role as head coach at Barnstaple," said Squire.
"I'd like to pay tribute to Danny. He's been at the club for two years, a lot of the players have benefited from working with him and his influence will remain with them for years to come.
"It has been very amicable (his decision to leave). There's no bad vibes or negative vibes.
"But that is sport, things move on and the important thing is, as a club we have reacted to the news."
With Barum returning to training next month, Squire hopes to confirm the signing of two new players this week.
Report courtesy of http:\www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk