Norwich set to conclude pre-season under new coach at Swaffham

Pictured, from left, are Norwich first team captain Gareth Leake, Jonny O'Brien (coach), Ben Girling (vice-captain) and Mark Fernie (club captain). Pictured, from left, are Norwich first team captain Gareth Leake, Jonny O'Brien (coach), Ben Girling (vice-captain) and Mark Fernie (club captain).

Friday, September 5, 2014
10:31 AM

A much depleted Norwich side faced up to a bigger side at Peterborough and came away with honours even at 26-26.

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They complete their warm-up routine with a game against Swaffham tomorrow. This season they have a new player/coach in Jonny O’Brien, a sports lecturer at Easton and Otley College. With Rob Micklethwaite in Australia, O’Brien’s 100pc kicking record in last week’s game will be of great comfort to the team.

Former lead coach Ian Fraser, who is still involved, identified O’Brien as his successor during a season when Norwich knew they were in a fight for survival.

He said: ”Our predominantly very young side probably got promoted a year earlier than they expected or indeed were ready for so we knew last season would be difficult as we sought to consolidate in London 2 North East.

“I am confident that Jonny will be very successful as a coach and has the full backing of the players.”

O’Brien himself had a frustrating season, breaking his ankle in training early on and being reduced to the role of video analyst, which gave him a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the squad he inherits. He said: “It is a great honour to be the coach of a club I’ve played for from the age of five. I hope to help move it forward on and off the pitch. I have an excellent support in director of rugby David Everitt and coach Ian Fraser.

“Pre-season is going very well with the players showing excellent attitudes with a strong work ethic which should hold us in good stead for the challenging league campaign ahead.”

Gareth Leake, who last captained the side 10 years ago, is given the role again and said: “It’s an honour to captain the side for a second term. We have had a strong pre-season and are looking to build on last season’s league position.”

Leake has Ben Girling as vice-captain and the club captain is Mark Fernie.

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