Fans who want to see more black coaches involved in the Gallagher Premiership will be pleased with the latest development at Harlequins as the London club have appointed title-winning midfielder Jordan Turner-Hall as their new academy coach.
The lack of BAME coaches in the upper echelons of the game in England has become a hot topic in recent times, particularly after Ugo Monye was joined by England and Saracens lock Maro Itoje to discuss race in rugby on Rugby Union Weekly, the BBC rugby show.
A league winner in 2012 under Conor O’Shea, Turner-Hall called time on his playing career in 2015 but he is now returning to the Harlequins fold five years later having recently been head of rugby at Ipswich School.
The 32-year-old has also spent time working with the Northampton Saints academy, Westcliff RFC, Wimbledon RFC, Hurstpierpoint College and Rosslyn Park.
Capped twice by England in 2012, Turner-Hall made 181 appearances during his long stint with Harlequins and he now joins fellow ex-club players Jim Evans and Charlie Mulchrone and 2014 World Cup-winning England women’s coach Gary Street in an academy overseen by Chim Gale.
? "I have to keep pinching myself. It's a great challenge."
— Harlequins ? (@Harlequins) July 24, 2020
Turner-Hall said: “It’s an exciting time to be involved with the academy with the salary cap and the emphasis on homegrown players. It’s nice to come back to such a special place having been away from it for a few years.
“It’s made me hungrier and more determined to succeed as a coach. I felt like the timing was perfect for a new challenge and I believe I’m ready to add value to the club within the academy.
“It’s a new chapter for me as a coach and I’m excited to learn and develop in a great environment. There’s a great buzz around the dynamic coaching team Paul (Gustard) has put together so I’m looking forward to learning off them as well.
“With this new role, it’s all about building relationships and knowing the person before the player. Once I can do that with the young lads I believe I can understand what makes them tick and hopefully I can support them in reaching their goals and dreams both on and off the pitch.
“I’m looking forward to working with some of the most talented boys in the country and if I can bottle up my experience and passion for the club and hand it on to them along the way, then even better.”
Harlequins boss Paul Gustard added: “It’s fantastic news to have Jordan returning to the club as he takes the next step and progresses in his coaching journey. As a player, Jordan was a physical, uncompromising centre who gave everything and I have no doubt that he will bring the same level of commitment, energy and passion to his new role within our academy set-up.
“During the interview process, he was articulate, energetic and clearly emotionally attached to the club. He showed a great depth of knowledge and acumen, but it was also clear he is very driven to add more skills to his coaching toolbox. It is important in players’ formative playing years they have good role models and people that genuinely care.”
"It seemed that certain young black kids in teams I was playing in were not given the chance to be a decision-maker – one of the intelligent positions”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 22, 2020
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