Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s performance director, Terry Sands, talks to CARL MARSTON about the appointment of Jon Curry as the new head coach

East Anglian Daily Times: Jon Curry, Bury's new head coachJon Curry, Bury's new head coach (Image: Archant)

Terry Sands is looking forward to life with new head coach, Jon Curry at the helm, following Ollie Smith’s decision to stand down from his post due to family commitments this week.

Smith will still be in charge, for Bury St Edmunds’ scheduled National League Two South clash away at Clifton tomorrow.

But that will be his last match before Curry, the former Northampton Saints Academy coach, takes over for the last couple of months of this campaign, in the build-up to his first full season in charge next term.

“We always knew that Ollie (Smith) was only going to be a short-term appointment, although we thought he might do the full season,” explained Sands, Bury’s Performance Director.

East Anglian Daily Times: Action from Bury's match against Old Redcliffians at the Haberden earlier this season, with captain Liam McBride in possession. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTAction from Bury's match against Old Redcliffians at the Haberden earlier this season, with captain Liam McBride in possession. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT (Image: Archant)

“Family commitments, however, mean that he cannot see out the season.

“He has just had a young child, and also has overseas business interests to pursue.

“His daughter was born six weeks ago, and it was two weeks later that he decided it was too much for him to continue in his role here, with all the travelling to and from his home in London. He has to put his family first.

“He is a house-husband at the moment, and it doesn’t help that most of our away matches are a long way away.

“In fact, we do more travelling in this league than any other club, with most of our fixtures being in the west and south-west.”

New appointment Curry was a former Director of Rugby at North Walsham, and worked in the Leicester Tigers’ player development centre, before his switch to Northampton Saints’ Academy.

“Jon (Curry) is currently away in Denmark, and he didn’t really want to take up the position until after the end of this season,” revealed Sands.

“But we have persuaded him to take over from next week.

“We have enjoyed three good seasons at this level (fourth tier of English rugby), and I think that Ollie has done a good job this season.

“It is never easy when you take over with a whole new coaching staff and virtually a whole new team, which is what Ollie did last summer.

“It can often take a couple of seasons to get settled, so to be up in sixth spot is a good effort.

“Losing the three games in a row in December (to Redingensians Rams, Chinnor and Cinderford) meant that we didn’t have a chance of getting into the top two.

“There is no prospect of us getting promoted or relegated, so its a good time for Jon to come in for the last couple of months of the season, to get familiar with the set-up.

“He spent some time on the coaching staff with us in 2014 and 2015, although he was with Northampton Saints (Academy) at the time, so it was just once a week when he came and worked with our forwards in training.

“I think he is a natural successor to Ollie, although of course Ollie is a backs coach and Jon more of a forwards coach,” added Sands.

Bury have already made big plans ahead of next season, with this week’s recruitment of six new players for the 2018-19 campaign.

Italian tight head prop Andrea Pozzi, inside centre Nicholas Perez (from Eden RFC in Auckland, New Zealand), and front row specialist Patrick Robinson, a Kiwi, have all signed.

Likewise, the trio of Ethan Thompson (scrum-half currently playing in France), Franco Maggiolo (Argentinian second row forward or No. 8, currently on Southend’s books) and Robert Harris (blindside flanker to be recruited from Grammar Tec in Auckland NZ) will also be at Bury from next season.

“We have already brought in a few new players, looking ahead to next season,” confirmed Sands.

“I have taken on that role, so that everything doesn’t end up being a rush. I used my silver tongue to get these new players in.

“These six new signings, together with Salva Palmares Lloret (a centre) who joined us last week, will increase the strength in depth within our Pro-am squad.

“We have started to build next season’s squad early to enable us to get a good pre-season together.

“We have a great coaching team at Bury and our new head coach (Curry) will help to get the best out of what is becoming an exciting squad.

“We still plan to go with 80% of the players from this season, into next season, and Jon now has two months to settle with the players, and then hit the ground running for next season,” added Sands.

Bury have seven fixtures remaining. Their last outing was a 46-26 home win over Canterbury from a fortnight ago.