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Former Bury St Edmunds coach Craig Burrows confirmed as new head coach at Sudbury Rugby Club ahead of derby at Colchester




Sudbury Rugby Club have formally appointed recently departed Bury St Edmunds backs coach Craig Burrows as their new head coach ahead of Saturday’s big derby at Colchester (3pm).

The South African, who previously had a spell at Hadleigh under ex-chairman Terry Sands’ tenure, has been at Whittome Field throughout pre-season following Neil Dachtler and Dick Sumner requesting to step aside due to work commitments.

Burrows, who had a spell in interim charge of National League 1 Bury alongside Andy Herlihy in November 2018, was alongside the pair to orchestrate a 32-20 home win against Harpenden on Saturday as the London 1 North season kicked off.

Sudbury Rugby Club's new head coach Craig Burrows, with head physio Trevor Holder in the foreground, at their season-opening game with Harpenden Picture: Mark Westley
Sudbury Rugby Club's new head coach Craig Burrows, with head physio Trevor Holder in the foreground, at their season-opening game with Harpenden Picture: Mark Westley

Team manager Simon Dain explained: “Neil Dachtler and Dick Sumner are going to be assisting him until Christmas and then they are going to take a step back due to work commitments.

“We officially appointed Craig as our new head coach at Monday’s management meeting.

“We had originally spoke to Craig just before Covid hit and Neil and Dick had kept in contact with him and we got him down in pre-season.”

Neil Dachtler has stepped aside from his head coach role at Sudbury but will still be assisting Craig Burrows up until the Christmas break Picture: Mark Westley
Neil Dachtler has stepped aside from his head coach role at Sudbury but will still be assisting Craig Burrows up until the Christmas break Picture: Mark Westley

He added: “I was with him on the touchline on Saturday and he is a very enthusiastic coach who seems really clued up with how he wants to progress the club going forwards.

“It just felt like a good fit for us and works well with the situation with Neil and Dick.”

Dain was also keen to pay tribute to the work done by Dachtler and Sumner, the former who stepped up as head coach in the wake of Ben Scully leaving for Colchester in May 2019.

“Neil and Dick have done a great job and have left everything in really good shape,” he said.

Frazer Beckett, pictured in action against Harpenden on Saturday, has taken over the captaincy at Sudbury Picture: Mark Westley
Frazer Beckett, pictured in action against Harpenden on Saturday, has taken over the captaincy at Sudbury Picture: Mark Westley

“Had Covid not come along we would probably have been pushing for a top four place.”

With the players returning from 18 months without competitive rugby and the adjustment to new ideas, Dain feels a top-half finish is the aim for 2021/22.

“I think we have got a bit more strength in depth this season and hopefully, if we can manage to stay clear of too many injuries, I think we will want to be challenging in the top half of the table,” he said.

Former Hadleigh and Suffolk player Ryan Steer had a memorable debut for Sudbury, scoring two tries Picture: Mark Westley
Former Hadleigh and Suffolk player Ryan Steer had a memorable debut for Sudbury, scoring two tries Picture: Mark Westley

“Harpenden are a good side and it was a really good performance on Saturday to kick off a new era.”

Scrum-half Fraser Beckett has taken over the captaincy from Jake Thurlow on a permanent basis with the flanker currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Henry Cowling scored two tries for Sudbury in their 32-20 home win against Harpenden in London 1 North Picture: Mark Westley
Henry Cowling scored two tries for Sudbury in their 32-20 home win against Harpenden in London 1 North Picture: Mark Westley

New signing Ryan Steer and Henry Cowling both scored two tries, with the penalty count against having threatened to undo their good work.

It will be an area of the game Burrows and his fellow coaches will be keen to address ahead of taking on title hopefuls Colchester on their new artificial pitch this weekend.

It was one apiece to the home sides during the 2019/20 campaign.

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