Oaks get new head coach

Rugby Union season preview.

Rugby Union season preview.

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Oakham Rugby Club is stepping into a new era with the arrival of an experienced head coach at the helm of the first team.

Tim Andrews has taken over the running of the two senior teams at the club.

Andrews is a real rugby man. He moved to Rutland because of his work, GE Industrial Solutions, and said when he was picking somewhere to live he had to make sure it fitted all the criteria - good schools for his three children, the right house and a rugby club.

Andrews said: “I have been involved in rugby all my adult life.”

The family moved to Whissendine a year ago and his two sons were immediately enrrolved at Oakham RFC, playing for the U9s and U13s last season and moving up again this year.

There was no girls rugby at the club so his daughter had to go further afield to play, but has now signed up at Market Harborough.

Rugby is very much a family affair with his wife coaching the juniors as well. And it is through the junior section that Andrews has got involved with the club.

A man of his rich rugby pedigree was soon talked into sharing his expertise.

Andrews was head coach at National League Two South club Tabard RFC for five seasons, between 1998-2003, becoming head coach after a spell as assistant/ backs coach.

His time leading Tabard was a successful one, winning the Hertfordshire Presidents County Cup for four straight seasons.

As a player Andrews was a scrum half and he spent nine seasons at St Albans, captaining them in three of those.

During that time they won the Herts/Middlesex title, were runners up in the London North West Three and played at Twickenham in Pilkington Shield Final in 1995.

He returned to the club as coach in 2003, leading them to the play-offs in his first season and promotion to London North Two the next.

At the same time he coached the Hertfordshire county side to Twickenham success in the championship shield against North Midlands in 2005.

He led St Albans for another two years before family commitments saw him take a break from the game, but he was back in 2010 as director of rugby.

Andrews is now keen to bring a professional feel to the club which has facilities as good as anyone in the area since moving to the New Showground last season.

He said: “What I am looking for is a professional looking amateur club.”

He said he recognises that it has to be fun but he and the club’s committee have been working to get the senior side opperating like a professional outfit, with new kit, a physio and kitman.

Andrews said: “Although it’s a great facility it was quite an upheaval to move last season.

“We have got to sort out some ownership issues with the players taking responsibility for the club.”

One player who has been taking huge responsibility for the club is centre Tom Armstrong who coached the team as well as playing last season.

Andrews said he will continue to be a vital figure within the team’s senior leadership group but he can now concentrate on playing.

He comes in knowing there are areas to improve, starting with increased numbers in training.

He said: “Without the players buying into it and coming to training so I can coach them, I am just another person watching Oakham rugby club only I will be wearing a tracksuit.”

Andrews said he wants to pull together the links between the colts, second team and first team, training together at times.

He said: “Without a strong second team you cannot have a strong first team.”

On Wednesday night Andrews held a players’ meeting to get to know them and discuss goals for the season.

They will begin their pre-season training on Wednesday at 7pm at the club.