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Record try-scorer Tom Varndell steps into English grassroots to cut his teeth in coaching

By Online Editors
(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Record Premiership try-scorer Tom Varndell isn’t finished sniffing out scores just yet after playing last season with relegated Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship. The 34-year-old wasn’t sure what his next move might be when interviewed by RugbyPass in mid-April. 


However, that uncertainty about what Varndell would do after leaving Yorkshire has now been solved as the ex-England winger has opted to become a player/coach at National 2 South club, Bury St Edmunds. His past links with the grassroots club’s performance director, Terry Sands, have led him dropping down two levels to cut his teeth as a coach while also finishing his playing career off.

Varndell had been due to visit the Suffolk club as a celebrity at their annual sevens tournament, but Sands, the ex-England 7s manager, got talking about what he was doing for 2020/21 and one thing quickly led to another, the ex-Leicester and Wasps flyer agreeing to become skills and attack coach.

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Speaking on the Bury St Edmunds website, Sands said: “I asked him what he was doing this year and he said he wanted to get into coaching having now stopped playing full-time on a professional basis. I took the chance to seize the opportunity and suggested to Tom we could help with the next part of his journey and it all came together. It was not about money for him, it was all about the opportunity with us.”

Varndell arrives in place of ex-Ireland international Kevin Maggs, the former Moseley boss who cited travelling from Bristol as a factor in stepping away for next season at the club who gave upcoming London Welsh director of rugby Cai Griffiths his start as a coach in 2016/17.

Terry added: “He always has time for people and it will be all about what some of our players’ aspirations are, as they will be able to speak to him and soak up all his knowledge and experience. It’s fantastic for the club and it is fantastic for our supporters, including all of our volunteers and sponsors that have supported the club over the years.”


Varndell, who has moved into sports agency work with Elite Player Management, told RugbyPass last month: “I’m 34 now and the body, it’s had enough. I think I will play semi-professionally and will carry on training because I enjoy that aspect, but in terms of being smashed and the body aching, that’s me done. The tough year with Yorkshire was pretty much the final nail in the coffin.”



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