Saffron Walden RFC give Gaffan head coach post

PUBLISHED: 11:02 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:02 11 June 2020

Neil Gaffan is the new head coach at Saffron Walden RFC (pic Jamie Pluck

Neil Gaffan is the new head coach at Saffron Walden RFC (pic Jamie Pluck


Saffron Walden Rugby Club have appointed Neil Gaffan as their new head coach.

Gaffan is no stranger to the club, having stood in for Gareth Evans earlier this year when he suffered a serious skiing injury.

And the club thanked Evans for his efforts, saying: “Gareth put his heart and soul into the job as Director of Rugby over two seasons and we thank him for his contribution and wish him well.”

Gaffan played professional football before joining the club as a player in 2002, playing for the first, second and third teams and captaining the seconds at one stage.

After hanging up his boots, he took to coaching as his sons began playing rugby, with son Joseph looking destined for a promising career with Northampton Saints.

Gaffan coached at Wendens Ambo before moving to Saffron Walden RFC and has coached every age group from under-sevens to colts with success at County and Eastern Counties level.

A level two coach on his way to achieving level three, he also had a spell at Bury St Edmunds with their development squad and was forwards coach for Eastern Counties last year, a role he will continue.

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Popular with players, he is already recruiting for the first team with a view to getting a strong second team out on a regular basis as well as a third string from time to time.

He said: ”I’m excited to be able to continue the development of the players, coaches, units and teams at SWRFC. I’m also very keen to bring the whole club together and build the best community rugby club in the area.

“Fun, learning and playing our wonderful game, with a solid ‘rugby for all’ mantra will help to achieve this. I really want the youngest members of this club to know who the 1st XV captain is and generate a self fulfilling pathway to be that future captain of this club.

“Match-day involvement on Saturdays for the younger players and Sunday support from senior players will again grow the pathway to senior rugby. A list of players who are happy to ‘put their boots back on’ is growing so I am very confident we can put out 2-3 teams when required throughout the season.

“All players new and old that want to have the best rugby and social experience should get in touch and join in with what is the best community rugby club in our area.”

A builder by trade, Gaffan is helping to organise a lot of much needed maintenance work at the club with the help of players, subject to all the rules and regulations on social distancing and hygiene.

A club statement said: “There is certainly a buzz amongst the players and everyone is itching to get back to training and start playing rugby.

“When the season was cut short, our next opponents were the eventual league winners Norwich. The players were really up for causing a shock and winning that game. Neil has a lot of good ideas, so I hope he can soon start introducing them to the players.”

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