With pre-season well underway ahead of the second Tyrrell’s Premier 15s season, Richmond women are delighted to confirm a new-look coaching setup, with Jonathan Griffin signing on as head coach, and being joined by five key members.
After finishing strongly in their first Premier 15s season, Richmond will be hoping to compete at the upper levels of the league in the 2018-19 season, and Griff, as he is known in rugby circles, and his team are already putting plans in place, on top of a gruelling pre-season regime, to ensure just that.
After representing London Irish and Blackheath, Griff retired from playing in 2003, and has since had coaching success at Loughborough University, Stanford University in California and the Collegiate Men’s Pacific Coast All-Star XV. He led the three sides to 11 titles in total across the mens and womens game, and since returning to England in 2011, he has been head coach of the Wooden Spoon Women’s Invitational 7s side, as well as assistant coach for Richmond Men’s 1st team, leading the Richmond Vikings to 6 back-to-back ZOO Shield League 1 wins.
Having taken charge of the women’s 1st XV for the final few games of the 2017-18 season, he is excited about the prospect of his first full season in charge.
“Richmond FC is a great rugby club. The women’s section has been a world leader in the women’s game, and that is a contribution we intend to continue. It’s a real honour to be given the opportunity to lead the women’s section and with the coaching team now assembled, I’m really excited to get started with the players on the field!”
Having targeted several areas through which to further Richmond’s success off the field, Griff has wasted no time putting together a side off the field that can deliver what he envisions.
While Griff focuses on the 1st XV, Richmond’s One Club ethos means success for the 2nd XV is just as important, and with that in mind, former Wasps and Richmond player Vicky Alexander has signed on to lead the second XV, as well as offering skills coaching for the entire section.
Lynne Cantwell, Ireland’s most capped international and ex-Richmond star, will take on a player performance mentorship role within the entire setup, while Emily Mulcahy is the new sports psychologist focused on leadership processes.
Finally, Mike Panaho has come on board to focus on the forwards, and Luke Stevenson as performance analyst and player development coach. Panaho has a long affiliation with English rugby, having coached at Colston School, Cinderford, University of West England, Gloucestershire u20s and senior side, and the South-West Divisional u20s, to name just a few. Stevenson, meanwhile, has experience with England Men’s and Women’s 7s sides, as well as Harlequins, Ealing Trailfinders and the London Broncos.
“I’m excited by the prospect of working with such an extraordinary group of talented players and coaches in a very competitive league,” Stevenson said. “I look forward to adding to an amazing environment that I believe will bring Richmond to the top of the Tyrell’s Premier 15.”
Courtesy of Richmond FC