SCOTLAND’S most capped women’s rugby player Donna Kennedy has joined Pershore Rugby to help coach the club’s women and mixed touch section.
The former international player is the first woman to gain 100 caps and has an accomplished coaching career too. Kennedy coached the Scottish women’s rugby union academy team and then the under 20s side before becoming forwards coach and then director of rugby for women’s Premiership side Worcester Valkyries.
Kennedy stepped down from the latter role at the end of 2017 to be able to spend more time with her young family but, when the opportunity arose to coach at Pershore, she agreed to take several break-out training sessions for the women and mixed touch section as a guest coach.
All of the players are delighted to have her input. Kennedy said: “It’s good to hear the guys are enjoying my sessions and I am enjoying coaching them too. They are a great group of players and it is really good to be able to give back something to the sport I love.
“At Pershore I can do that and still have time for my job and my family, which works really well.”
Pershore RFC chairman Richard George said: “We are focusing on developing a strong coaching team across all of the sections at Pershore and Donna provides incredible weight to the already significant coaching resources we offer.
“RFU Community Rugby Coach Jonathan Critchlow is coaching the men’s contact sides and we continue to invest in training coaches at every level within the club.
“We are, of course, delighted Donna is formally joining us to help coach, alongside her other rugby coaching duties, which include her being assistant coach for the women’s 2019 Barbarians, who took on the USA Women’s Eagles in Denver on April 26.”
At Pershore, Kennedy joins two other coaches – Ash White and newly-qualified Rob Nichols – to develop the ladies’ touch team and the mixed touch section too and all of her sessions include a strong focus on handling skills.
Kennedy added: “My sessions are focused on the fundamental core skills, especially passing and catching because no matter what level you play at these should always be practised.
“Often the way to success is doing the basics well and every player benefits from that approach.”
Touch section chair Fizz Bewley said: “Touch is a rapidly growing sport for all ages and abilities and Pershore is one of the leading centres for it in the region.
“That has been boosted tremendously with Donna joining us. We now have a fantastic coaching team to teach beginners and old hands how to get the best out of this great non-contact team game.”
Touch training for women and men takes place at Pershore RFC every Wednesday at 7.30pm and Sundays at 10am. Anyone aged 13 and over can come along and have a go and the first three sessions are free. Contact Fizz on 01905 381080 for details.