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'Even this morning he was out at 7:30 with Callum doing a session'

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

Bristol have confirmed that kicking coach Dave Alred will remain at the Gallagher Premiership club through to the end of the 2022/23 season after they were impressed by his impact on the squad and his fellow coaches during pre-season. It was July 4 when the Bears originally named the seasoned specialist coach as a recruit for the two months leading into the new campaign.


That relationship has now evolved into a more permanent arrangement that will continue the whole way through a season that began last Saturday with a dramatic round one win over Bath. “Thoroughly impressive but not surprised,” explained director of rugby Pat Lam at his Wednesday morning media briefing when it was confirmed that Alred, a veteran of the 2003 England World Cup winning staff, would remain working at Bristol.

“I have known Dave for a while and he is a world-class operator. He still works with Johnny Sexton, Beauden Barrett and some key players around the world but what he has been able to do in a short period for our backs has been phenomenal. But also within the coaching group, his wisdom, his knowledge have been tremendous for a young coaching group and even for myself, it has been awesome.

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“Harry Randall hit a spiral into touch at the weekend and he took a mark. All the different varieties and techniques for the players, the players are loving him. He is not a young man, I wouldn’t say grandfather-like but he is certainly building great relationships with everybody so we are thoroughly enjoying him.

“It was just a no-brainer that we offered him to stay and more importantly he was keen to stay which was good. He is a Bristolian and he loves being part of it.”

Lam was speaking at his 9am media briefing, by which stage Alred had already completed a chunk of his daily work with Bristol. “Even this morning he was out there 7:30 with Callum (Sheedy) doing a session, it’s just the way he does things. He has got huge experience with some world-class golfers and other sports. It’s the way he communicates, the way he coaches, he is like a psychologist as well, he builds great relationships and it’s impressive for other coaches to watch.


“I get him to give feedback on all of us as well, the way we communicate, the way we coach. Although he is effectively titled kicking coach, it’s also a mentoring role that he is doing right across the staff and the players. He has got tremendous experience and knowledge and it’s great he is contributing massively for us.”

It was November 2020 when Alred was interviewed by RugbyPass+ and spoke about his desire for more forwards to be able to kick capably in rugby. “Definitely all the back rows should be capable of kicking because sometimes they are arriving at a breakdown and there is a chance to break,” he said at a time when he was based in Queensland in Australia.

“Because defences are so tight, if you can place the ball behind them so they have to turn, you can then chase and it is a tough thing to defend against. We have got a couple of forwards in the Reds who have seen the opportunity to punch the ball and turn the opposition. Even one of the front row guys did it not so long ago. The more complete footballers should be able to do it, at least be comfortable in putting the ball forward and being able to run on to it.”

Asked by RugbyPass if the Alred methods were rubbing off on any of the Bristol forwards, Lam said: “I’ll tell you this – if anything the forwards are watching and the forwards are trying to (do it). The thing that used to annoy me was these guys who complain about bits and pieces, they come out, think they are goalkickers and start whacking the ball.


“But the good thing is Dave’s techniques and little cues are rubbing off on forwards who think they can kick. Forwards are trying the spirals, forwards are looking at bits and pieces but the most important thing is they are wanting to try the things that they see Dave do.”


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