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Norwich Rugby Club coach O’Brien decides to step down

PUBLISHED: 09:14 13 April 2018

Jonny O'Brien is standing down as Norwich coach at the end of the season. Picture: ANDT MICKLETHWAITE

Jonny O'Brien is standing down as Norwich coach at the end of the season. Picture: ANDT MICKLETHWAITE

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Norwich have announced head coach Jonny O’Brien will be standing down at the end of the season after four years in charge.

His final match in London 2NE will be at Chelmsford when the team will be aiming to bounce back from losing 101-3 at champions Rochford last week.

Director of Rugby David Everitt said: “With the birth of his first child due in September, and work commitments, Jonny feels that he will not have the time to devote to the club.

“He has improved the team’s performance to the extent that this season we have seen some very entertaining games at Beeston Hyne and away that have on occasions been a joy to watch. He will be missed but we have to move on and we are in the process of looking for his successor.”

Saturday’s game will be another difficult one as the Essex side have greatly improved of late, with their coach Simon Hoult coming out of retirement to steady the ship.

Accepting that Rochford were a class apart, with 12 of their players having played National 3 at Southend last season, there were some serious failings once the ball was spread wide and these will need to be rectified.

Matt Selby, Si Darby, Josh Wilson, Ryan Bigland, Robbie Bridgstock and Tom Stanley all return while Laurence Austin moves to 12 in place of brother Nick who took a knock in last week’s game. Paul Micklethwaite is out following a training injury that moves Jake Wharton to six and Jason Hynd on to the bench.

“This game is very important, to bury the memory of Rochford, to put the team in a positive frame of mind for the Cup final against North Walsham and also to secure the third position in the league that we currently hold,” said Everitt.

O’Brien added: “We need to do our talking on the pitch against Chelmsford, it’s as simple as that.”

Southwold need to pick up maximum points at Wisbech, while hoping Stowmarket fail to do likewise at Holt, to secure the London 3EC title. The two sides are currently level on points, with Stowmarket leading the way by virtue of suffering fewer defeats.

The final round of matches also sees Thetford entertain West Norfolk looking for the win that could see them finish fourth ahead of Holt and Wymondham travel to Newmarket.

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