Huddersfield RUFC boss Gareth Lewis has revealed from next season he will be taking on a new position at the club, becoming director of rugby at Lockwood Park.
The new position won’t affect his head coach duties, however it does mean Lewis will now have more control of strategic thinking at all levels with regards to recruitment.
On his new position he said: “In many respects the new role has elements which I’ve been doing for years. The main focus will be to strengthen and improve those pathways from academy rugby to first team level.
“It’s been no secret that this season we have struggled to build a second team and that can be important to what happens at first team level for various reasons.
“It can drive up competition in the squad, it is also a bridge between national rugby and social rugby. So in the first few weeks I’ve met with some former pivotal Huddersfield players and we have bounced ideas off each other which has given me food for thought in how to move forward with this.
“I’ve come up with a plan on how we can strengthen those pathways right down to the junior level. With my day job being a PE teacher I have a good understanding on how young people think and what makes them tick.
“However also with me being a national league coach I am fully aware what it takes to play at the level we are in now in regards to first team rugby.
“So I will be wearing a few hats next year but I’m very excited to do this new role. I am passionate about the club and have a real thirst to move it forward.”
While Lewis was frustrated with how last season ended with the club finishing second bottom in the National 2 North table, he insists there were some good results and some positives to take into the next campaign.
He said: “I think it’s been a challenging season on the back of the pandemic. I have to give huge credit to the lads who gave everything out there on the pitch and whilst we have ended up near the bottom of the table we did have some big results last campaign.
“I think we had a lack of consistency, we did prove in some games that on our day we can be a threat to any team in the league. However all too often we didn’t play to our potential. We can learn a lot of lessons from this season in what it takes to be a National 2 rugby team.
“I think as a coach I’m experienced enough at this level now to know what it takes to be in this division. A lot of the teams in this league play a good brand of rugby. The best teams in this league are conditioned to play high intense rugby and have players who are comfortable on the ball across the pitch.
“We need to improve our fitness, our conditioning and improve our skill level if we want to compete further up the table next season. Once we do that we will be able to reach our potential.
“We brought in two new coaches this season in Neil Ryan and Rob Anderson to work with different parts of the team. We were able to give debuts to a number of young local lads which is important for me being a local lad myself that you give these boys a chance. We want to build a squad around a core a good players and then add to that with local lad pride.”
Lewis will take a break from rugby in June to recharge his batteries before building up to the new season which starts in September.
He said: “I think I need a break in June or I will just burn myself out. I will come back refreshed and ready to go again to try and move this club forward.
“We’ll be talking to current players about where we see them, we’ll then be talking to new players and seeing where we could strengthen the squad.”