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Craig Burrows set to be named Colchester's new head coach after leaving Sudbury Rugby Club having securing promotion with second-placed finish



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There is certainly no love lost between Sudbury Rugby Club and neighbours Colchester. But that is now only set to hit new heights after the Whittome Field outfit announced they had lost the services of promotion-winning head coach Craig Burrows to their divisional rivals.

The surprise defection comes after the former Bury St Edmunds coach achieved an untargeted surprise promotion to a new National League 3 division in what was his first season in charge of a senior side.

South African Burrows had the Blues in the hunt of the London 1 North title with Shelford, leading for a large period of the campaign, right up until the penultimate match, finishing as runners-up.

Craig Burrows is set to be officially confirmed as joining Colchester after a highly successful season in charge at local and divisional rivals Sudbury Picture: Mark Westley
Craig Burrows is set to be officially confirmed as joining Colchester after a highly successful season in charge at local and divisional rivals Sudbury Picture: Mark Westley

Colchester ended up as the side below them in the table, taking the third promotion spot, due to an extension of places as a result of the RFU implementing a major re-structure of the pyramid this summer.

It comes almost three years to the day that we were first to reveal former head coach Ben Scully had shocked the club by joining Colchester.

The north east Essex side announced yesterday that Anthony O’Riordan had left his position as director of rugby after eight years. But they are yet to announce Burrows' arrival, though Sudbury have revealed the imminent news themselves.

Craig Burrows (second from right) celebrates promption being secured for his Sudbury side following a 64-19 victory at Old Haberdashers Picture: Contributed
Craig Burrows (second from right) celebrates promption being secured for his Sudbury side following a 64-19 victory at Old Haberdashers Picture: Contributed

A club statement also drops the bombshell that although they are aware of the situation, and have told their players, they say they are yet to formally receive their head coach's resignation.

Sent to all members and signed by first XV senior manager Simon Dain and chairman Lloyd Felton, it reads: "We would like to announce that following our club’s success this year in securing our promotion to Nat 3, Craig Burrows has taken the decision to leave Sudbury as head coach and accept a position at Colchester RUFC.

"Craig will be leaving the club with immediate effect although we are still waiting for his official resignation.

"The players were informed of the situation yesterday evening and while understandably disappointed about Craig’s decision, they were none-the-less even more determined about the season ahead.

Craig Burrows addresses the Sudbury players following a pleasing final day victory against Norwich Picture: Mecha Morton
Craig Burrows addresses the Sudbury players following a pleasing final day victory against Norwich Picture: Mecha Morton

"The club's committee and the existing senior management team are already working hard and putting plans together to take the team forward into next season.

"We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this is history repeating itself, and as in the past, it will be the players that will show they are the driving force of our success, most of whom have been playing together since they were eight years old.

"It is this heritage and pride that feeds our passion for the game and that has driven our players to be one of the most successful teams Sudbury has ever produced.

The champagne was flowing after Sudbury signed off as a promoted side at home to Norwich on the final day on April 9 Picture: Mecha Morton
The champagne was flowing after Sudbury signed off as a promoted side at home to Norwich on the final day on April 9 Picture: Mecha Morton

"We look forward to next season with great anticipation."

It is not yet clear if the club will be looking for a new head coach or happy to run under the previous regime of Neil Dachtler and Dick Sumner, who had remained after handing over the reins to Burrows in the summer. The pair had been put in charge following Scully's departure.

Sudbury's Jake Sumner scores a late try against Colchester in their memorable victory over their rivals at Whittome Field in February Picture: Mecha Morton
Sudbury's Jake Sumner scores a late try against Colchester in their memorable victory over their rivals at Whittome Field in February Picture: Mecha Morton

Sudbury finished seven points ahead of Colchester in the table this season. They won their home derby 29-22 on February 5, having lost 17-15 back on September 11 as Colchester opened their new artificial pitch and accompanying arena.