Justin Clarke named as new Head Coach of the BRFC Academy

Blaydon RFC all delighted to announce that Justin Clarke has been appointed as the new Academy Head Coach for the new season. Justin is a long-term member of Blaydon RFC and having retired from playing last season he is looking for a fresh challenge to utilise his vast experience and enthusiasm for the game.

The Academy will go from strength to strength this season with the addition of the vast majority of the County Cup winning U16 team, who were coached by Keith Robinson and Ian Kelly joining up with a strong group of players from Steve Davidson and Paul Winter’s group. I understand that the Academy pool of players will be in excess of 30 going forward, which is fantastic news for the long-term development of home-grown players, who are the future generation for BRFC.

For those of you who don’t know Justin, please find below a quick Q&A, which will provide you with some more information on a long standing, well respected and familiar face at the club.

-Name: Justin Demarkus Clarke
-Age: 44
-Position’s Played: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and let’s not forget 14 for the Blaydon Bricks on my gentle return to playing.
-Highest Level Played: National 1 with Blaydon and Durham County
-Clubs Played for: Blaydon RFC, Moortown RFC

-Role Model & Why

No single role model, I tend to like bits of what people do. Obama overcame the divisions of a nation to become the first black president of America, Jonny – The LEGEND – Wilkinson, combined talent and total dedication to become the best he could be, winning a World Cup and many other honours. More recently a local business owner faced with the challenge of Covid-19 yet finds the courage to feed the local community. There’s a lot to admire.

-Coaching Philosophy:

Train hard, play hard and have fun. Set the standard, raise the standard, push boundaries and believe anything is possible.

-What do you like about Blaydon?

Blaydon is my rugby home. I’ve learned a lot about life and rugby over the last 25 years. I’ve experienced the success of promotions, played at Twickenham and battled it out to avoid relegation. There have been so many people along the way providing support, guidance and encouragement. All with the best interests of the club at heart. Bit of a cliché but it sounds like a family to me.

-Why did you take this role?

Perfect timing. I’ve just retired from playing for the second time. It’s time to test myself as a coach and see if I can guide a young group of players the way I’ve been guided.

-Any other comments?

It is a true honour to be asked to coach Blaydon’s Academy. I have that feeling of nervous excitement I used to get before every game. I’m looking forward to getting to know the team, working with the coaches and to a successful season ahead both on and off the pitch.

All at BRFC would like to take this opportunity to wish Justin all the best in his new role and the Academy will be in good hands moving forward with Keith Robinson, Steve Davidson (Chester) and Paul Winter assisting with the coaching. This could actually be a golden era for the Academy as our current U16s/U15s squads have huge numbers and they are both strong groups backed by a talented group of coaches.