St Ives Rugby Club has moved fast to prepare for the 2020-21 season by strengthening its coaching team.

Simon LeaderSimon Leader

John Naylor has moved on after a three-year stint with the Bulls, during which time the senior sides have enjoyed unprecedented success.

And Max Dominy has stepped up to the head coach role, remaining active in reinforcing support for player development with some exciting appointments.

Simon Leader will join the senior set-up as a backs, attack and skills coach, having worked with county and regional teams and Northampton Saints in a number of roles.

Leader’s vast experience includes a successful spell as national coach of Belgium, when he took them to their highest ever ranking, and he was most recently with National League side Cambridge.

Jake BowenJake Bowen

He joins St Ives after taking a daytime job as head of rugby at Wisbech Grammar School and, having represented the Bulls as a 17-year-old, makes a welcome return to the Chicken Shed.

He said: “Max and I have spoken at length about the ambition of the club and I’m excited to be able to play a small part in helping move things forwards in this coming season.”

Having joined two seasons ago, Andrew Hutchinson will continue to play and double up as forwards and set-piece coach.

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Having enjoyed a successful playing career with Shelford and Eastern Counties and developed the Shelford women’s team, Hutchinson is keen to share his knowledge and understanding.

“I’ve loved my time so far at St Ives and felt very welcomed by everyone at the club,” he said.

“After talking to Max about the plans, I’m looking forward to being part of the journey and building the club going forward.”

Another former player to return is Jake Bowen, who is a successful fitness trainer currently based at One Leisure in St Ives.

Bowen began his rugby career at Somersham Road aged five, before focusing on a body-building career in adulthood.

He will provide strength and conditioning expertise to Ives players and said: “I’m looking forward to joining back up again with the mighty Ives, this time from the sidelines.

“As a coach I take great pride in providing everyone I coach with nutrition and training guidance to allow them to achieve optimal results.”

Dominy is delighted with his group and is now looking forward to getting started.

He added: “We have a very strong team coming together. I’m really confident we can kickstart the new season as soon as we’re allowed and reinforce our position as the top club in the district.

“The announcements have already started to attract some quality players as well. Despite the lack of matches and training together, our plans are coming together well.”