New head coach appointed as Norwich RFC look to progress

Jonny O'Brien in action against Basildon for Norwich earlier this season. Picture: Andy Micklethwait

Jonny O'Brien in action against Basildon for Norwich earlier this season. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

Long-serving player Jonny O'Brien has been named as new head coach at Norwich Rugby Club.

He replaces Ian Fraser, who has decided to stand down due to family commitments but will still be involved in training.

O'Brien, who has been at the club since his junior days, is involved in the rugby academy at Easton College with North Walsham head coach Nick Greenhall.

After the frustration of breaking his leg during training earlier in the season, he is looking forward to the start of pre-season training in June.

'Jonny's appointment is clear evidence of our intention to develop our own people who are fully committed to the club,' said Norwich director of rugby David Everitt.

'He will be fully supported by Ian Fraser during training sessions as well as other members of the coaching staff and has the backing of the players which is essential for a successful partnership between coaches and the squad.'

Following promotion last year Norwich retained their London Two North East status, with a run of impressive results towards the end of the season seeing them over the line.

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'It has been a tough season for this very young side,' said Everitt. 'In truth they were probably promoted a year earlier than we had expected or hoped for so it was always going to be a big task to maintain our position in this league in the face of some very experienced sides.

'Our stated objective was simply to consolidate our position in London 2NE and we achieved that.

'Although we had some periods where we were concerned, we remained optimistic knowing the quality and commitment of players that we had within the squad. Our objective for next season will be to build on the performances of this season but be more consistent and streetwise than we have been during this one.'

Norwich's season concluded with its annual dinner last night at which former England and British Lions player and now TV presenter Martin Bayfield was the speaker. The first XV awards saw Matt Selby awarded Young Player of the Year, Chris Parrott Most Improved Player and Dave Micklethwaite Player's Player.

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