Hartpury University RFC are pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan Lamb as our new Backs & Attack Coach.
Lamb, whose distinguished playing career started with his home-town club, Gloucester, and went on to encompass spells at London Irish, Northampton, Leicester Tigers, Worcester Warriors, La Rochelle and – finally, last season – at the Scarlets, will arrive to fill the vacancy created when his former Kingsholm club-mate, Jonny Goodridge, accepted an opportunity to coach at Premiership club Worcester.
Goodridge became one of a growing band of former Hartpury coaches now operating at an elite level, with Sean Marsden currently the first-team Skills Coach at Bristol Bears and Mark Irish a senior member of the coaching group at Worcester.
Hartpury are calculating that Lamb will be on a similar trajectory, envisioning that the flair and creativity that he showed on the field will translate into his new role.
“I feel very privileged and excited to have this massive opportunity”, said Lamb.
“Hartpury is clearly one of the best places in the country to be able to develop, either as a player or a coach. You’ve only got to look at the number of players who have come through the system here – whether that’s at college, at the university or in the Championship – and gone on to professional, and even international, rugby to be able to see that.”
“It’s an ideal chance for me to transition from playing professionally into coaching and I feel very excited to be in this position.”
“There’s a lot of good athletes within this group. It’s a generally young squad and they all want to learn. Hartpury is all about developing these guys, so it’s a great environment for the players and also for me as a young coach.”
“Hartpury now stands alone, in its own right, as a centre for rugby development. I was aware of it, back in the early days, when I was coming through at Gloucester and to see where it has got to now, and to have a chance to become a part of that development tradition, is fantastic.”
“I’m relatively inexperienced coming into the role, although last season at Scarlets I spent quite a bit of time working with and mentoring some of the younger players.”
“I really got a lot out of it – more than I expected to, if I’m honest – as I could see, in them, a lot of what I had experienced as a young player of 18. Being able to feed my experience back into the game is very important to me.”
His arrival reunites him with former Gloucester team-mates Mark Cornwell – the Head Coach of Hartpury’s Championship squad – and James Forrester, who now combines his role as a coach to Hartpury University’s student teams with a recently-announced job as deputy to Sean Lynn, Head Coach of Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC.
Forrester – an exciting back row forward destined for a long international career before injuries prematurely ended his playing days – is also clearly enthusiastic about his added work-load at Hartpury.
“I’m excited to be continuing my role with the BUCS (Hartpury’s university student teams), but during lock-down John Barnes and Sean Lynn got in touch to ask if I’d like to get involved with the girls and I was happy to say yes.”
“My involvement here has been a little bit part-time in the past, but being able to now spend more time on the coaching and in this environment, with all the other guys, is something that I’m really excited about.”
“It’s also a great time to get involved with Gloucester-Hartpury, as women’s rugby is growing really fast and we’ve got a World Cup coming up next year.”
“Between the women and the BUCS rugby, I’m really looking forward to focusing a lot more of my time on coaching going forward.”
Mark Cornwell is clearly happy to have secured Lamb’s services for ‘the RFC’ ahead of the 2020-21 Championship season.
“We had a number of interesting applications for the role but clearly I was very aware of Ryan’s interest and I know that he has the potential to be an outstanding coach.”
“His knowledge of the game, having only just finished his professional playing career, is extremely current and the enthusiasm that he has shown, both in the formal interview process and since, has been second to none.”
There is one further potential benefit for Hartpury which is that, at the relatively tender age of 34, Lamb has yet to throw away his playing boots. Despite having excellent young talent vying for the number 10 jersey, it is not beyond the imagination that Lamb could be called upon during a potentially gruelling 22-week run of games once the season finally starts.
“Ryan may well end up pulling his boots on again”, said Cornwell. “He’s certainly not a bad option to have in reserve at our level.”
Lamb also seems fairly receptive to the idea. “It depends what John (Barnes, DoR) and Pasty (Mark Cornwell) say”, he said. “But, it’s always going to be very tempting and if I’m needed, I’ll be there. I’ll be particularly happy if there’s no tackling!”
Like all Championship clubs, Hartpury are awaiting resolution of what the coming season will look like and when it will start, with the most likely option at this stage being a full list of home and away fixtures, running without breaks, from a start date in late 2020 or early 2021.