Director of Club Rugby on the move
After seven years in his development role at Blackheath, Steve Pope is moving on.
On 1st August he will take up a position as ‘Rugby Professional’ at Reed’s School at Cobham in Surrey.
‘It’s a very exciting new challenge,’ said Steve. ‘Reed’s has a formidable reputation in other sports (Tim Henman was a product of their tennis training and former Surrey all-rounder Keith Medlycott is in charge of cricket and now they want to bring their rugby coaching up to a similar standard.’
A prop-forward, Steve joined Blackheath in 1995 before continuing his professional playing career with London Welsh and Swansea. He returned to Rectory Field in 2005, not only as a player, but also as Director of Youth and Youth Player Development, initially assisting Mark Percival.
‘Mark had the opportunity of a job in South Africa soon after I returned so I was suddenly thrown in at the deep end,’ continued Steve.
‘It was a sharp learning curve and it took me into areas I didn’t expect, but I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved. Taking London Leisure College to the Daily Mail Final in 2006 was a major highlight but working on the exchange program with players like Mark Davey and Danny Caprice has been particularly rewarding.’
Steve departs Blackheath at the end of April, but although he has three months before he takes up his new position, he’ll be far from idle.
As the current forwards coach for England Counties he will be heading for East Africa for a 20-day tour which encompasses matches against the national sides of Uganda and Kenya as well as training as part of the Outreach initiative.
‘I’ll miss Blackheath, I’ve made a lot of friends here,’ he concluded. ‘It’s going to be a busy time but I look forward to returning to Rectory Field whenever I can.’