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'Clear strategy' lures assistant Richard Hodges away from Cardiff

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

The managerial shake-up at Cardiff has continued on Friday with the announcement in Italy that assistant coach Richard Hodges is to join Zebre Parma. The Welsh region is currently working its way through a situation that last month saw the director of rugby Dai Young suspended, and planning for next season will now involve the recruitment of a new defence coach.


A statement read: “Zebre have consolidated by adding an important resource to the technical staff headed by coach Fabio Roselli. We are talking about Richard Hodges, the former assistant coach of Cardiff Rugby who for the next few seasons will give his contribution to the defensive phase and its components, collaborating closely with Aldo Birchall in the development of an extremely strategic area in modern rugby.

“Having joined Cardiff’s coaching staff in 2017, the 48-year-old has had the opportunity to experience first-hand their strong growth and evolution, overseeing the defence for the 2018 EPCR Challenge Cup winners with whom he finished the 2022/23 season in 10th place in the URC and in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

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“He held the position of head coach at Glamorgan Wanderers (2007-2011) and Cardiff RFC (2011-2014). He also joined the Cardiff academy and became assistant coach of the Welsh national sevens team (2009-2014) and the U20 national team (2013-2019), participating in five editions of the World Cup in his category and winning the U20 Six Nations in 2016.”

Hodges said: “Zebre have a clear strategy and a clear growth plan. I know how to facilitate this development process and I’m eager to take on this new challenge.

“It is an opportune moment to join the club: in the squad, there is an exceptional number of young athletes from the U20 system, many strong growth players and several talented and quality foreigners able to raise the standards. I was looking for a new challenge and I found it. There is a lot of work to do, and I can’t wait to get to work together with Fabio, all the staff and the players.”

Zebre sporting director Franco Tonni added: “Richard Hodges knows the (URC) competition inside out and the details useful for facing the critical phases of the season. In the days spent in Parma in the company of him and his young family, we were able to appreciate the amount of enthusiasm, competence and ambition that accompanies him and that he will make available to the club.”



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