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'You can't be a top-six club if you're not conditioned properly': Worcester bring in ex-Ireland age-grade Six Nations winner

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

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Worcester have recruited David Drake from Ulster to become the Gallagher Premiership club’s new head of performance and head of strength and conditioning. A 2007 Six Nations U20s Grand Slam winner with Ireland, the former out-half had a short-lived career after that due to injury, quickly moving into the S&C area of the sport.


Drake has worked at Ulster for eleven years and Worcester will hope he is the latest piece in the puzzle solved with new head coach Jonathan Thomas seeking to radically change the dynamic at the seemingly forever lower table Warriors.

“When you talk about the direction a club is going in a lot of discussion is centred on the recruitment of players or coaches,” said Thomas. “What sometimes goes under the radar is the appointments in the S&C department. If your players are not conditioned in the way that you need them to be it doesn’t matter how good a coach you are you won’t achieve your goals.

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Ex-All Blacks half-back Andy Ellis guests on the latest edition of The Breakdown
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Ex-All Blacks half-back Andy Ellis guests on the latest edition of The Breakdown

“There is room for huge growth in this team and the club. David has unbelievable knowledge and he is going to transform our S&C department. We want to be a top-six club but you can’t be a top-six club if you are not conditioned properly. David Drake is going to be a high-class appointment for us, coming in and bringing alignment to all the departments and, in terms of high performance, taking us to another level.”

Drake has been in a variety of roles at Ulster, his latest being senior athletic performance coach, while he also spent a few years working with the Ireland U20s, the Ireland women’s hockey team and at the Irish Institute of Sport.

“I have been blown away by the vision this club has and the people involved. I’m very much looking forward to supporting the players and support staff to make progress next season,” Drake said. “In what has been a time of change for the club, I am excited to help Alan Solomons, JT and the wider support staff to develop the best possible environment and programme we can. That work will begin this pre-season where we have an opportunity to prepare this exciting squad for a successful season.”


Drake will succeed Johan Pretorius who has left his role as Warriors’ head of performance by mutual agreement. “David is an outstanding S&C coach, who has all the credentials to head up our Performance Department,” added Solomons. “He is the ideal fit for us and I believe that there will be great synergy between him, JT and the other coaches.

“We are indeed most fortunate to have secured such a good replacement for Johan Pretorius, who did such a great job for us here at Sixways. We thank Johan for his invaluable contribution and wish him all the best for the future.”


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