Coach reaps rewards of his qualification

Paul Russell
Paul Russell

A Daventry rugby coach is now qualified to help more than 1,000 players across Northamptonshire improve their rugby skills.

Daventry RFC coach Paul Russell has passed his Level 2 Rugby course through the QBE Coaching Club, a joint initiative between QBE Insurance and the Rugby Football Union.

The QBE Coaching Club was a key strand in the RFU’s 2015 World Cup lead-up and legacy programme, with more than 2,015 Level 2 coaches recruited and trained ahead of the tournament.

Paul and the county’s 39 other qualified coaches are having a positive impact on more than 1,000 players in the Northamptonshire area - and Paul has already noticed a significant change in the response he gets from his players and how the team performs on and off the pitch.

In the season before Paul achieved his coaching qualification, his Daventry RFC under-15 side won 60 per cent of their matches, but after he secured his Level 2 badge, the team went unbeaten in the league and romped home to the championship title. Paul puts this down to his new training methods.

He said: “I encourage feedback from the team and they tell me that they’re enjoying the sessions and learning something new every week. What’s more, the parents are delighted with the progression of the squad and they recognise the role coaching plays in that.”

The QBE Coaching Club was developed to provide coaches with tools to attract new players and keep existing ones in the game. Paul said: “By having qualified coaches at the club, we’re attracting new players. In the last 12 months, we’ve had 24 new players join across our teams.

“Providing young players with sound, basic skills like running, catching, passing and safe tackling will improve their development and enhance their enjoyment.”

Fewer players have been leaving too and Paul puts that down to the coaching. He said: “Our retention is currently very good. Players join the club as juniors and stay with us right through to seniors. We’ll have 12 more under-18s join the senior squad next season, which is excellent.”

And nine of the young players Paul coaches have now been called up to play at district level.

Paul and the other 39 Level 2 qualified coaches in the county will be able to share their knowledge with another 80 coaches, and he is encouraging them to complete the training as well.

He said: “I want all of our coaches to have a qualification behind them. It’s the best way to increase player enjoyment, assist their development and ensure the risk of injury is minimised.”

To find out more about Daventry RFC, visit

To find out more about the QBE Coaching Club, visit