New era for Barnstaple RFC. Pic from Derek Parnell & Bob Collins

New coaching team for Barnstaple Rugby

North Devon Gazette

A new era is ready to dawn at Barnstaple Rugby Club after the announcement of a new coaching team for the 2022/23 season.

Former club captain and a veteran of over 250 games for the Chiefs, Winston James is taking on the role of Head Coach for the first-team.

The appointment of James as Head Coach represents the next step in his incredible journey with the Chiefs, having progressed through the junior ranks to spend ten years as skipper and now the man in the dug-out charged with making the big calls.

Speaking to the Barnstaple RFC website, James said: “The squad is looking great, a young average age with so much potential and 90% local talent, which is brilliant for us.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead but the response I’ve had from the players has been outstanding, they’ve fully got behind me and backed me, which has given me a lot of confidence.

“I want to build the squad and push things as far as it can possibly go, it will take a bit of building but I think the club has a bright future.

“I would just like to say thank you to the club for giving me the job. I will give everything I have to develop and improve the club, and the players in it.”

James has moved quickly to appoint George Snell as club captain, while Johnny Carter and Pat McManus will form part of the coaching team.

Barnstaple Athletic will also have a new man at the helm for the approaching campaign, with Luke Berry named as the Head Coach.

Berry, like James, finished his playing career with the Chiefs last season and has a wealth of experience, with over 300 appearances for the Chiefs to his name.

“I am honoured to have been asked by Winnie to take up this role and I am looking forward to supporting him and Johnny Carter in preparing the squad and ultimately coaching the Athletic,” Berry told the club website.

This season will be a first competitive league campaign for Athletic, as they take on the Counties 2 Tribute Devon League.