By Richard Sykes

Just over a month after the end of the 2023-24 season and the disappointment of relegation from the National Leagues, Huddersfield RUFC are starting to prepare for their Regional 1 North East return and with Huddersfield rugby legend Danny Brough at the helm as head coach there is a buzz of optimistic anticipation around Lockwood Park.

Brough joined the Huddersfield coaching team late last season and inspired a noticeably improved defensive performance before assuming overall coaching responsibility at the very end of it.

The former Huddersfield Giants and Scotland captain regards the division his team is entering as ‘a tough section’ but he has set his sights on a top four finish.

Whilst pleased that most of last season’s squad have re-signed, Brough is also on the lookout for new recruits to plug gaps brought about by departures.

He said: “It is a real honour to be given the coach’s job at a great club like Huddersfield and I am looking forward to getting the squad together and meeting the challenges ahead.

“Our first priority is to find a couple of second row forwards to replace Thiu (Barnard) and Razor (Luke Pearson) and I am working with Nick Sharpe (chair of rugby) and Ed Barber (2023-24 captain) to find good replacements.

“Lock is a highly specialised position and there doesn’t seem to be too many out there at present.”


Ed Barber

Barnard has retired from playing at the end of a long career and Pearson has plans to play in New Zealand this coming winter. The pair have been the backbone of the Huddersfield pack in recent times.

Brough is also looking towards home-grown talent to bolster his senior squad. The club has one of the strongest Age Grade sections in the north of England and Brough’s son Henry plays in their under-14 team which reached the Yorkshire Cup final last season.

The Huddersfield Colts team are current Yorkshire Premier champions and five of their number gained Yorkshire county caps in April.

“I will be watching teams from under-12 right through to Colts to spot talent,” said Brough. “I take the view that if you are good enough, you are old enough.”

Players can compete at senior level from the age of 17 and at the end of last season Colts’ player Archie Stancliffe was given his chance by Brough at that age.

The youngster impressed on the wing and this season he will be joined by fly-half Lance Barker who is the latest prospect to feature in the coach’s plans.

Huddersfield aim to field three senior sides next season and Brough is full of admiration for club stalwarts Joe Shiel and George Hinchliff who have been tireless in their efforts to support the grassroots of rugby at the club.

He said: “Joe and George have done a great job of keeping the second and third teams going. Their achievements have been immense.

“We are targeting a senior squad of 25+ and want a strong second team and genuine competition for places. I need players who never give in and want to play for Huddersfield and I want selection to be effort and performance based.”


Liam Parfitt

Leading the First XV on the field this year will be Liam Parfitt, with Lewis Workman serving as vice-captain.

Parfitt, who plays in the back row, has been with the club since 2016 and Workman is a one club man who started playing as an 11-year-old.

Pre-season preparation begins in earnest at the end of June when the squad will gather for a signing-on night at which Brough will set out his expectations.

He said: “I want everybody to be available and want to see teams training together and the Colts joining in with the seniors.”

Huddersfield have lost their place in the fourth tier of English rugby twice since reaching it in 2008. On both occasions they have bounced straight back as champions of the league below.

With Brough’s winner’s mentality and motivational drive, a third Level 5 championship is not out of the question.