Bury St Edmunds head coach appointment role for Jacob Ford – brother of England player George Ford and son of rugby league legend Mike Ford
Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club have appointed a new head coach in Jacob Ford to spearhead their promotion push next season, Suffolk News can reveal.
The brother of England player George Ford and son of Leicester Tigers assistant coach Mike Ford is only 22 years old, but knows Bury’s league well, having recently guided Westcliff to safety in their first season in the fourth tier. Ahead of that role he became the youngest ever to qualify as an RFU Level 3 coach.
The former Wasps and Bath academy player will remain as the head of rugby at Ipswich School, where he is based, and he will work alongside director of rugby Nick Wakley at the Haberden, who had been combining both roles commuting from Wales.
“I had been speaking to Nick and Terry Sands (performance director) for a while really to understand what the club is about and see if I can add value to that,” said Ford, who has also been the performance coach of Loughborough University, responsible for their BUCS Super Rugby team.
“It was the decision at the end that I could add value to that environment.
“The club has got fantastic ambitions, they have got a really good set-up and great foundations to go and achieve some fantastic things, so you naturally wanted to be part of that and it is really exciting.”
Despite their 2019/20 season not ending on the pitch due to the first Covid-19 national lockdown, Bury St Edmunds remained in sixth place in National League 2 South following a best playing formula being applied.
It was enough to beat their previous best finish in the fourth tier of seventh in their debut season at the level in 2015/16.
And with Ford’s input – having helped steer Essex coastal side Westcliff to a 13th-placed finish despite limited resources for the jump up – Sands is confident his addition can make a telling difference in the pursuit of National League 1 status.
“We are all really excited for next season as we start to build a great off-pitch and on-pitch team that we hope will lead to a really successful season,” he said.
“Having Jacob on board is going to add significant value to our Pro-am set up where we already have an excellent team of coaches.
“At Bury we have always been about giving people opportunities to develop, grow and hopefully achieve their aspirations.
“Jacob has visited the club and met with Nick and myself several times and was suitably impressed with our facilities and what we do here and he sees coming to Bury as a great career move.”
He added: “We have had far too long without rugby at the Haberden and we are looking forward to the time when the shackles are off and we can get our players and supporters back to the club in the not too-distant future.”
Ford, who set up a rugby academy at Rishworth School whilst a Loughborough, could have a quick return to his former club with Bury set to be away to Westcliff in their East Anglian League Cup on May 15.
However, it is understood Wakley is still working through some logistical issues for the competition which is also set to feature Bishop’s Stortford. It is set to start with Bury hosting the latter on May 1, without fans, but end at home to Westcliff on June 5, with supporters set to be permitted again.
Neighbouring National League 1 side Cambridge were previously announced in the line-up but are no longer involved.
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