Wed 19 Jul 2023 09:01

At Eccles RFC we value our volunteers. We appreciate the commitment of our coaches and team managers and as a gesture of our thanks we reward them with a nice warm touchline coat and a free brew and breakfast butty on home match days.

We also appreciate that taking on the role of a coach or a team manager can appear daunting if you've never done it before, so we've attempted to compile all the info, links and frequently asked questions on this page as an easy, ready reference. If you can't find the answer you're looking for please speak with one of the people listed below who will be happy to help. 



Coaching is essential to sustaining and increasing participation in Rugby at Eccles RFC. As such we welcome interest from all those who wish to volunteer their time and effort to support and develop our players’ skills, fitness, creativity, awareness, resilience, behaviours and decision making, on and off the pitch. 

Coaching is a challenging and rewarding experience - not only are you inspiring the next generation of players and putting back into the community, you are staying fit and developing yourself personally and professionally in the process. 

An effective coach will have a good understanding of the technical, tactical, physical and mental aspects of our game, but you don’t need to have played the game to a high level in order to start coaching. All you need to begin is enthusiasm and an open mind. 

Coaching knowledge and confidence are gained through practice on the training pitch, and there are lots of online courses and resources to help fuel your coaching journey as you progress towards qualifications. 

We have a friendly and strong coaching fraternity at Eccles RFC and advice, guidance and encouragement is never far away. Once you have begun coaching we'll add you to our Coaches' WhatsApp Group where we share ideas and content.

Here are 5 steps, the basics you need in place, to get you going:

  • CONSIDER THE AGE GROUP:  If you are interested in coaching children (players under 18) contact our Mini & Junior Chairman Dan Nicholls 07789 202189 If you are interested in coaching adults contact our Director of Rugby Sam Simpson 07935 403171. If you’re not sure and you’d just like an initial chat call club chairman Chris Gaffey 07971817375
  • INTRODUCTION TO SAFEGUARDING: All volunteers working with children need to undertake a DBS check. To begin this process please first complete the free, 30-minute  ‘Introduction to Safeguarding’ course online, by clicking this link:   Safeguarding courses ( Note: You will need to log into your RFU GMS account to gain access to the course.
  • DBS:  Once you have completed the ‘Introduction to Safeguarding’ course please inform our club Safeguarding Officer, Heather Thorpe, 07762 081105 so she can commence your DBS application. DBS applicants will be contacted by email to identify documents you intend to use to complete the ID check. Three forms of ID are required, typically Passport, Driving Licence, Birth Certificate, Bank Statement or Utility Bill, but there are others on the list that can be used. Following this you will need to meet with Heather so she can see your original documents as part of the DBS clearance process.
  • PLAY IT SAFE: All Volunteers responsible for children (anyone under 18 years old) are required to attend RFU ‘Play it Safe’ Safeguarding training. This 2.5 hour course should be completed every 3 years in line with your DBS renewal. The ‘Play it Safe’ course must be completed within 2 months of your DBS application and it can be booked on line via RFU GMS.  
  • HEADCASE: This 30-minute online concussion awareness course explains what concussion is and what you can do to help players avoid injury and return safely to play following a concussion. Concussion Awareness Training should be completed each season on this link


Once you've got into the swing of things you'll want to advance your coaching skills and knowledge. There are there lots of short online RFU courses and video resources available on this link:

We regularly hold coaching Continuous Personal Development (CPD) sessions at Eccles RFC and we encourage you to attend RFU CPD courses such as Scrum Factory, Game Changer, CARDS, Principles of Attack & Principles of Defence. Places are often limited. You can find and book yourself onto a course using this link

The following RFU courses are recommended and fundemental:

  • TACKLE SAFE: Competence in tackling is critical in providing a safe and enjoyable game. This 30-minute online course helps to support safe, effective coaching and officiating of the tackle.
  • KIDS FIRST TAG: For those coaching and refereeing U6-U8 players. This 2-hour course supports the development of active, purposeful, enjoyable and safe tag rugby environments for children. Participants will also learn the rules and practice refereeing tag rugby.
  • KIDS FIRST CONTACT RUGBY: This course (2 x 3 hour sessions) is designed help you safely coach and referee the contact areas of the game and is recommended to everyone.
  • ENGLAND COACHING AWARD: This 2-day course also includes monthly webinars and online community of practice. It is the entry point for those coaching U12 and above and will provide knowledge, skills and attributes to safely and effectively coach young players, adults. It is highly recommended for anyone who is coaching the 15-a-side game.
  • ENGLAND RUGBY REFEREE AWARD: NO REF = NO GAME. If you are coaching children you'll probably find yourself taking up the whistle at some point and there are lots of online videos, webinars, and referee resources available on this link to help you grow in confidence The England Rugby Referee Award is a two-day course and the e-learning module on this link will help you prepare for Day 1 England Rugby Refereeing Award Day 1 Prep

Please Note: Eccles RFC does not expect you to fund your coaching learning. Costs of RFU courses will be reimbursed by the club once successfully completed.

What are the responsibilities of an Eccles coach?

Download  this pocket PDF guide for an overview of the role and responsibilities of coaching at Eccles RFC. This is a reference point to the principles and good practice the club values. 

Club Coaching Structure

Director of Rugby and Mens Head Coach
Sam Simpson

Sam Simpson was re-appointed Eccles RFC Director of Rugby and Club Head Coach from the start of the 2018/19 season, with the mens 1XV subsiquently promoted back to Level 7 in his returning year. Sam brings a wealth of rugby experience, playing from Level 2 to Level 7 and coaching all ages and genders, including working with Lancashire and North of England representative teams. As Head Coach, Sam previously guided Eccles RFC from Level 8 to 6 but stepped down before the start of the 2016/17 season due to family commitments. Sam performs his role at Eccles RFC in conjunction with his day job as an RFU Community Rugby Coach which ensures the club is in line with current RFU Best Practice.

Ladies Head Coach and Community Rugby Coach
James Wright

07791 227616

James Wright was appointed Head Ladies Coach in 2018. The Ladies are rebuilding to get back to the very high standards this section of the club has been accustomed to in recent years. James stepped up from Backs Coach to Head Coach, taking over the role from Mark Greenhalgh who was instrumental in supporting the Ladies in their development and progression up the Ladies leagues to Championship 1. Several former Eccles Ladies are now playing at the Elite professional level for Sale Sharks and Loughborough Lightning.

In September 2021 the club appointed James Wright as Community Rugby Coach. The responsibilities of our CRC include planning and delivering a programme of activity in local Schools, with the specific objective of improving links and recruiting players. The role also involves delivering high quality player-centred training sessions, sports camps, and community festivals at the club, and helping to deliver coaching CPD for our Mini & Junior section. 

Mini & Junior Chairman
Daniel Nicholls
07789 202189‬

Daniel Nicholls was appointed M&J Rugby Chairman in July 2021. In this role Dan oversees the effective and efficient delivery of rugby for 5-17 year olds at the club, which includes leading a team of mini and junior coaches, working with other club officers to co ordinate the logistics of training sessions and fixtures, ensuring safe participation of children in rugby competitions and tournaments, in line with Age-Grade regulations and ensuring players, coaches, volunteers and parents are all familar with the core values of the game. He is the first point of contact for any Junior rugby recruitment enquires.  

Club Chairman, Colts Coach and Coaching Co-ordinator

Chris Gaffey

Chris was appointed Club Chairman in July 2021 and supports Sam, James and Dan with coaching communications and co-ordination, ensuring our coaches have the support they need to succeed and signposting relevant courses and CPD. Chris is RFU Level 2 qualified coach and has 6 years of (silverwear-winning) colts and youth coaching experience.

RFU Age-Grade Codes of Practice

The needs of children are at the heart of everything we do in Age Grade rugby. Being player-centred means that the focus is on potential, rather than current ability and that the emphasis is on enjoyment and encouraging a life-long love of rugby. For children, enjoyment is more important than winning; especially if it means they get to play with their friends. For more guidance on the purpose of Age-Grade Rugby see the RFU Age Grade Codes of Practice   Download

RFU Codes of Conduct

We are committed to developing an inclusive culture where it is safe and acceptable for everyone involved in rugby to raise concerns about any unacceptable practice, behaviour, abuse, discrimination, wrongdoing or misconduct. The RFU Code of Conduct provides a summary for the values, policies and procedures we embrace.   Download

RFU Regulations

The Rules and Regulations of Rugby Union football in England can be found online on this link and from here, downloaded to your own computer.

RFU Coaching Resources

The RFU Online Coaching Academy website aims to communicate and support coaches at all levels of experience and expertise. The RFU is committed to offering a world-leading coaching development service, from helping volunteers who want to coach children’s tag rugby on a Sunday morning, to those aiming to become a professional coach.

An effective rugby coach is someone who “leads the optimum improvement of a rugby player at each stage of his/her development.” High quality coaching plays a pivotal role in sustaining and increasing participation in rugby union; it also helps talented players to improve their own performances which will secure the future quality of the English game. The enjoyment and fulfillment of the player is a direct reflection of the environment set by the coach.

The RFU Coaching Academy offers resources to enhance your development as a coach and can help you identify the next step in your coaching journey.

World Rugby Coaching Resources

A wide range of online support and learning covering aspects of coaching to community forums, technical content and more.

New Zealand Rugby Coaching Resources

An excellent resource called Coaching Toolbox, a lot of the information is accessible, but some requires a subscription.



The foundation of any successful team is an efficient and effective manager. 

Notifying the players (and parents) of dates, venues and times, organising equipment, transport, food and referees, handling player membership, registration and consent administration, submitting match reports, recording team sheets, reporting the score, identifying problems, resolving conflicts, reminding the coaches of the things they've forgotten - the manager is the glue that holds the team together off the pitch.

If you’re approachable, enthusiastic, organised, diplomatic and a good communicator you’ll be well suited to this essential role. It won't always be smooth sailing but at least you'll always be more popular than the coach!

What are the responsibilities of an Eccles Team Manager?

Download this pocket PDF guide for an overview of the role and responsibilities of managing a team at Eccles RFC. This is a reference point to the principles and good practice the club values. 

Useful contacts for Team Managers

Club Safeguarding Officer and Player Registrar
Heather Thorpe
07762 081105‬

Mini & Junior Fixture Secretary
Leeann Aspinall
07813 202971‬

Mini & Junior Chairman
Daniel Nicholls
07789 202189‬

Senior Fixture Secretary
Don Edmondson
07821 683516‬

Hon. Secretary 
Mark Greenhalgh
07525 434790‬

Club Chairman
Chris Gaffey