Rugby legend sets his sights on Suffolk

LEGENDARY English rugby player and coach Roger Uttley is coming to Suffolk at the end of this month to lead an International Academy at Brandeston Hall School.

LEGENDARY English rugby player and coach Roger Uttley is coming to Suffolk at the end of this month to lead an International Academy at Brandeston Hall School.

Brandeston Hall School who in recent years have had England coach Tosh Askew and Sale Sharks Mark Nelson running their renowned academy - have once again delivered a top class coach for their summer programme.

Uttley, awarded an OBE for his services to the sport, played 23 games for England - five as captain during the 1970s. He also played four tests in the British Lions back row on the undefeated tour of South Africa in 1974.

The 58-year-old went on to coach the England side that reached the 1991 World Cup final and the British Lions team in 1989.

Uttley is still involved with a number of England youth representative sides, while his day job is teaching physical education at Harrow School.

He said: “The players of the future have got to come from somewhere so the more we can do with younger players the better the skill base of the future will be.

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“Courses like this one in Suffolk are very important because they allow us to get youngsters interested and motivated to play the game.

“English rugby is on the cusp of something quite big at an elite level but we have got to make sure that we don t forget to nurture the youth because to ignore them would be to the detriment of the game.

I have had my time at the top and now I am enjoying getting people interested in rugby. The children won t know who I am, they are only interested in current players, but I can hopefully get them interested through my enthusiasm.”

Four of Brandeston's current rugby stars William Owen, Matthew Warren, Jack Pearson and Jack Scott have already experienced Uttley's coaching when they represented the National Prep Schools Barbarians rugby team in December last year.

Uttley said: “The Eastern Counties have always provided a good quality of player. There is a good tradition in East Anglia and that is important because in rural areas rugby clubs can play a big part in the local community.”

The Headmaster of Brandeston Hall, Martin Myers-Allen, said: “We have seen some astonishing rugby coaches visit Brandeston hall in recent years and the confirmation that Roger Uttley will lead the academy this year confirms our commitment to providing sporting excellence in Suffolk.”

The International Sports Academies which also include hockey and netball are open to boys and girls aged between eight and 14. Further information can be obtained by contacting Lucy Bryanton at Brandeston Hall on: 01728 685331 or by e-mailing: office@brandestonhall.co.uk.

The hockey and netball academies will be led by the sports respective England stars Matt Taylor and Louisa Brownfield.

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