Rees takes on new role of academy skills coach
The former Wales scrum-half, who has nine caps for the national side, has joined the management side after two seasons playing for the Men of Gwent. Rees, who has over 10 years of rugby experience, began his rugby career playing for his home rugby team Swansea before moving to London Irish. During his time with Swansea he made appearances for Ospreys and Wales U21s. After his time with Irish, Rees moved back to Wales as he signed with Cardiff Blues. The scrum-half went on to make over 100 appearances for the Capital City before being called into the Barbarians and scoring a try against Wales.
The 31-year-old then moved to the Men of Gwent after a full season at fellow Pro12 team Edinburgh. During the season of 2014-15 Rees combined his role as a player with taking up a position on the U16s academy management team, whilst also making 20 appearances for the Region. Commenting on the news Rees said: “The academy system is thriving and it’s great to be joining such a strong team where I believe I can add real value through both my own playing experiences and my academic background. The chance to influence the next generation of Dragons players is something that really excites me and I cannot wait to get started. James Chapron (Academy Manager) and Shaun Connor (Backs Coach) have done a very impressive job with the amount of players that have come through into the senior squad and I hope to continue their good work.
“The current academy players have got everything they could ask for to make them the best players they want to be with regards to facilities, coaches and support networks so I look forward to taking on my role within the team and particularly focusing on improving & challenging the players technical and tactical ability so they have to best possible chance to step up to the professional game. “I am looking forward to working alongside James closely, whilst utilizing Shaun and his experience so that I can learn from him first hand.” Academy Manager, James Chapron added: “It is great to have a person with Richie’s experience come and work with our younger Academy players. He brings with him over 10 years of playing experience at the very highest level and has been the recipient of some high quality coaching. He has developed his knowledge and skills of coaching by completing his PGCE alongside his coaching qualifications. He has worked with our U16s in the last season and made a real impact and I am looking for him to have the same affect with our very best.
“It is a challenging role that requires a great deal of commitment and hard work to get to know the players and people across our system. Richie will have to adjust from playing but I am sure he has the right characteristics to make this transition. “To develop an elite player, we need to ensure the player understands the demands of the professional game and develops the right behaviours and habits in order to be successful. Richie, as a player, understands what it takes and it is now about transferring this knowledge to the next generation of academy players.” Head of Elite Performance, Huw Bevan commented: “We are delighted to announce that Richie Rees has accepted the role of the Dragons Academy Skills coach. “Following a rigorous interview process with some excellent candidates, Richie’s wealth of experience at Regional and International level alongside the aptitude for coaching he has demonstrated with our Regional age grade teams, were the deciding factors.
“The skills, knowledge and experience Richie has gained in over 200 professional games will be of enormous benefit to the players in our pathway and compliment the excellent work already being delivered by James Chapron and his academy team.”