Gloucester legend returns to city club - as backroom pack reshuffles

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 04 June 2020 7:17

A city club has announced the appointment of a Gloucester legend as its new director of rugby for 2020/2021.

It is Andrew Deacon's (Deacs) first appointment since leaving Cirencester RFC, a club he served for five years after a decade as coach of National One club Cinderford - both as a player and then later as dirctor of rugby.

Deacs is taking over the reins at Longlevens Rugby from Tom Lovell who has been appointed as the new rugby manager to work alongside him.

Current senior player Mike Hagan takes on a wider role in a player/coach capacity for the backs.

The new face to the coaching set-up is Hartpury hooker Luke Stratford who joins the Gloucester club as the forwards coach.

Mr Stratford coached with Deacs at Cirencester for two years.

"I am delighted that Longlevens has awarded me this opportunity. I played my junior and early senior rugby here before moving to Gloucester.

"I also had a coaching stint a few years ago. When Julian and Chris approached me, I felt the time was right to consider a return," said Deacs.

“I am motivated to see how I can shape the club and take it forward. The squad is an exciting one with a lot of players entering their prime years of playing and participation.

"This is not just about the first team, the aim is increase concentration on the seconds and third teams which are crucial to any community club.

"There has been relative success seeing the club pushing for promotion last season, a good platform to work with.

"I acknowledge that any success in the community game is based on the players and their commitment to training and playing.

"My key objective is to work closely with the coaching and management team and create an environment which will stimulate and develop the players further and most importantly make playing rugby enjoyable.”

Julian Jenkins, president at Longlevens said: “As soon as we heard that Deacs was available for next season we jumped at the chance to bring him home to Longlevens.

"I think it would be correct to say he considers it to be ‘his’ club and we’re proud of that and everything he has achieved in a long and distinguished career as both a player and a coach.”
“We’re hugely excited by the experience and vision that Deacs brings to the table in our push for promotion building on the solid foundations put in place by the previous coaching team.

"We are also delighted that Tom Lovell and Mike Hagan have agreed to stay on and assist in these efforts and extend a warm welcome to Luke Stratford from Hartpury.

"I can’t wait for rugby to return and to see what the club can achieve under our new director of rugby.”

Talking about his coaching team, Deacs added: “I particularly welcome the knowledge and skills of Tom, he is highly respected, and his services will be a massive help to me and bring consistency.

"Michael took up the backs coaching position at the club during last season, which the players reacted to positively. To have his experience on the playing field will be powerful, along with his willingness to stamp his mark on the playing structure.

"I have worked with Luke for several seasons when I brought him to Cirencester. He is a great character to have around the changing room and on the training paddock. He brings a lot of energy, drive, and clarity to how we would like to play.

"I am looking forward to meeting the squad old and new faces, when rugby returns and the members many of whom I have known for years!”

Chris Yorke, chairman of Longlevens RFC, said: "Our long-term vision is to challenge the status quo within the Gloucestershire district, but to do that we knew we needed the best.

"Securing Deacs and his coaching team is fantastic news because it will drive up standards across the board at Longlevens.

"We are building towards a very bright future and as an inclusive club we encourage everyone to join us on our exciting journey.”

To find out more visit Longlevens RFC.