EXETER CHIEFS STAR TAKES ON COACHING ROLE AT ALBION
Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson is to take on a coaching role at Plymouth Albion alongside new head coach Ben Gulliver who is building an experienced team to prepare the Plymouth side for the coming season.
Gareth, the leading point scorer of all time at the Exeter Club, will continue playing there but will be involved in training the Plymouth side, primarily working with the backs. Former Chiefs team mate Carl Rimmer, who retired from the game after a stroke last year, will also have an assistant coaching role at Plymouth in charge of scrums and forward play.
Gareth, who joined Exeter Chiefs in 2008 after playing for Rotherham and Cornish Pirates, says he’s looking forward to his first coaching role.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” says the Irish-born player. “It’ll be great to work with the guys in Plymouth and get to know them. The last time I actually played against Plymouth would have been about ten years ago. I always remember them as being a tough side.
“Continuing to play at Exeter and coaching at Plymouth fits the bill for me. It’s great to be a player, but a fantastic opportunity to be in a different environment and taking on a coaching role. I think being a player gives you a good understanding of the game. Everything has changed since I started playing rugby. I’m not sure about my coaching style – I’ve only ever had two or three coaches, so I’ve been quite lucky. It’s about me coming in and helping out and sharing my knowledge.
“My playing style had to evolve and the way we play at Exeter is an attacking brand of rugby. We’ll see how it goes in Plymouth and what style of rugby they like.”
It was Ben Gulliver who invited Gareth to take on the coaching role at Plymouth. “Ben realises the club has been doing quite well so no-one’s going to come in and rip it all up. He knows the place is in good shape.”
Gareth knows Carl well. Colleagues on the pitch, they are business partners off it with the sports-themed Exeter bar The Stand Off which they opened last October. Last year was a busy one for Gareth – it was also his testimonial year at Exeter Chiefs.
Ben Gulliver comments: “I am building a group of people around me that I trust and can support me in a way that we can develop the team. Gareth has the experience and knowledge, at a high level, that can deliver a stepped change in the skills of Albion players.”
IMAGE CREDITS: Exeter Chiefs / JMP