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Where are they now - Kevin Maggs

By Paul Smith

Trending on RugbyPass

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To have worked in a kitchen, done ground work for a civil engineering firm, been a director of rugby and a talent identification specialist for the world’s number four ranked nation you have to be a man of many talents.

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That’s before we even mention 70 caps for Ireland – including appearances at the 1999 and 2003 World Cups – and upwards of 250 games in the shirts of Bath and Bristol.

Kevin Maggs is a remarkable man who has packed more into his 47 years than most of us manage in a full lifetime. He also remains as full-on and direct in person as he was when crushing the ribs of his opposite no.12 in a typically thumping tackle in one of the world’s great stadiums.

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The Bristolian’s Premiership playing days came to an unhappy end more than a decade ago, but since then he has remained in the sport which has always been a big part of his life – albeit in some less visible roles.

“My playing career didn’t end how I wanted it to when I was released by Bristol,” he acknowledges.

“My whole world had fallen apart following my daughter’s leukaemia; it was a three-year battle and they paid me off perhaps because they thought it was all a bit of a distraction.

“When my daughter was going through better phases I worked at Rotherham with Craig West – I originally went in as a player with a view to also helping out with areas where there were gaps.

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“We did as good a job as we could in the circumstances considering the budget we had and managed to keep Rotherham in the Championship.

“I’d always wanted to go into coaching but making the move from being a player is a difficult one and in the end because of my situation I almost fell into it.

“That said, I still miss playing every day. I miss the ‘craic’ with the lads, being in the changing room and the competitive element of being in a high-performance environment day-in, day-out.

“People tell you they don’t miss any of it but I know I certainly do.”

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Having started his career in the amateur era, Maggs knows plenty about earning a living outside professional sport, but describes himself as “incredibly lucky” to have spent his post-playing days working in rugby.

“I originally played for Bristol’s first team as an amateur in the mid 1990’s while I was at college studying sport and exercise science,” he says.

“Alongside that I had all sorts of different jobs; my brother’s best mate was head chef in a restaurant so for a while I went there and worked in the kitchens in the holidays and I also worked for a civil engineering and groundworks firm before the game went professional in 1996.”

This time appears to have equipped Maggs with life skills in more ways than one.

During his time as director of rugby at Birmingham Moseley it would have been impossible to find a set of players more committed to their boss.

The old cliché says they would have run through a wall for him – but had they tried you suspect there would have been a Maggsy sized hole there ahead of them.

The world of semi-pro rugby is far from easy, but in Kevin Maggs Moseley had a man who was far from scared of getting his hands dirty.

On more than one occasion he slept in his office deep underneath the Billesley Common stand in order to save his cash-strapped club some travel expenses.

And when the Birmingham Mail’s rugby man called for his weekly team news update he was more than a little alarmed by Maggs’ request to call back “because I’m on the roof of the stand fixing a few loose slates.”

So how has Maggs spent his time since leaving Moseley in 2017? The man himself picks up the story…

“I’ve been in my current role around four years as a talent ID coach for the Irish RFU,” he says.

“I’m part of the high-performance unit based in the UK with a brief to identify players to play in and for Ireland.

“In particular we look at the under 18 to under 20 age range looking to give players the opportunity to take the same route that my career took thanks to my grand-father being from Limerick.

“Joe Lydon, Steve McGinnis and myself watch lads who are eligible on that basis, monitor their progress and hopefully provide opportunities for them to be part of the Ireland under age pathway.

“We try to educate the players about how they should be doing things and also provide support for them through their education which can involve finding ways for them to study and play in Ireland.

“I am currently mentoring a number of boys with their careers and assisting them to move things forward.

“I love the job and still being involved in rugby. In particular helping players with their journey to eventually being a professional player and maybe an international provides me with plenty of job satisfaction.”

If his work results in Ireland getting another Kevin Maggs, you suspect few will object.

 

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Where are they now - Kevin Maggs

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