Coaching shake up for West Hartlepool Rugby Club

Kevan Oliphant of West Hartlepool Rugby Club

Kevan Oliphant of West Hartlepool Rugby Club

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WEST Hartlepool have announced a brand new coaching structure – with stalwart duo Kevan Oliphant and Tim Sawyer stepping away from the front line.

Iain Dixon, who worked as the main assistant last season to director of rugby Oliphant and head coach Sawyer, will link up with former skipper Jonny Boatman as the new team bosses.

Dixon, 31, has been named as the backs coach with 29-year-old Boatman in charge of the forwards, a role he will combine with playing in the National Three North side.

It is a bold approach from West, who won the North One East championship in some style under Oliphant and Sawyer in 2010-11 and finished an excellent sixth on their return to the national ladder last season.

And the move has come very much from Oliphant and Sawyer themselves.

“When Iain and Jonny both joined the set-up last summer me and Tim both saw them as our future coaches,” said Oliphant.

“The idea was that they would work with us, find their feet, and when it was their time it would be a smooth transition.

“They are ready to take the reins now and they will do a great job.

“I am a big believer that every coach or coaching set-up has a shelf life and I think this is a good time to freshen things up.

“This is my fourth year back at West now and Tim had been coach here before that.

“There is only so long you can go on saying and doing the same things so a spring clean will do us the world of good.

“Dicko re-joined us last summer after being away playing for Westoe.

“I knew he was good coaching-wise but thought he would be shadowing us for a while.