New Bury coach aiming for best ever finish

NEW BOSS: Jon Curry returns to the Greene King IPA Haberden after several years with Northampton Saints Academy

Bury St Edmunds rugby club has said changing head coach mid-season is ‘not a big problem’ as Jon Curry is set to take over at the helm for this weekend’s away trip.

Bury St Edmunds rugby club has said changing head coach mid-season is ‘not a big problem’ as Jon Curry takes over at the helm of a club fighting to maintain a best-ever sixth place in the league.

NEW HOME: The Greene King IPA Haberden is set to welcome six new overseas players

The National League 2 South side announced last Friday that Ollie Smith had stepped down from his role — after less than a season — with immediate effect.

The Wolfpack have now had three head coaches in less than a year following Gavin Hogg’s six year tenure at the club ending last season.

Jon Clarke was revealed as his replacement but was himself replaced by Smith without taking charge of a game.

And now Curry is due to take over, with hopes he will be in place by Saturday, March 10 for Bury’s next home game against Henley.

Pro-am performance director Terry Sands said personal reasons had influenced Smith’s decision, alongside a long commute for the former professional player.

He admitted it was ‘disappointing’, but said it has not derailed the club’s ambition to have their best league finish ever as they target a sixth or higher finish.

Sands said: “Ollie realised it wasn’t going to work for him. These things happen, it’s obviously disappointing but you have to deal with it and get on.

“It is still our target to make this the best league finish at the end of this season.”

Bury are currently in sixth position in their third season at this level, as they build on a long-term plan to reach the RFU Championship.

Sands said Curry, who moves from Northampton Saints Academy, brings a wealth of experience to help the club achieve their goals.

“Jon Curry is very experienced and took North Walsham up to the national leagues,” Sands said.

“He understands our ambitions well and understands this level of rugby too.

“We’re hoping he will be with us from next week but it may be a bit longer, he has several bits to wrap up.

“But Kevin Maggs will be with us in the interim, so we still have plenty of experience in our ranks.”

Curry was previously head coach at North Walsham RFC for seven years and has also worked for Leicester Tigers as Norfolk elite player development coach, as well as being coach of the Spanish national team.

He is also no stranger to The Haberden, having been scrum and lineout coach several years ago before moving on to the Saints Academy in 2012.

Sands added that the club are excited by the appointment of a ‘well-respected’ coach as they look ahead to next season and start building towards that from now.

Bury St Edmunds rugby club have announced the signing of six new players for the 2018/19 season, in a ‘pro-active approach’ to recruitment.

Italian tighthead prop Andrea Pozzi and Argentinian number eight Franco Maggiolo will be joined by New Zealanders Nicholas Perez (inside centre), Patrick Robinson (front row), Ethan Thompson (scrum half) and Robert Harris (flanker).

As the National League 2 transfer deadline was last Friday, they are not eligible to play for the Wolfpack until this season has concluded in May.

Sands also revealed that 80% of the squad from this season had already or were due to re-sign contracts, while six players would definitely not be involved in future plans.

He said David Coutts, Sam Bixby, Yasin Browne, Will Scholes, Jake Ashby, Chris Snelling and Chris Lord were among key players to extend their contracts with the club.

“Recruitment and looking ahead to next season is part of why we brought Jon in now,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for him and the club to bond, so he can learn about the payers we have now.

“We’re in a good place and feeling very positive about next season.”

Bury are due to travel to Clifton on Saturday (2.30pm), weather-permitting, before a crucial home game to seventh-placed Henley the following week.

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