New Welwyn coach Duignam has high hopes

PUBLISHED: 11:36 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:24 26 October 2009

New Welwyn coach Joe Duignam

New Welwyn coach Joe Duignam

WELWYN Rugby Club s new head coach Joe Duignam is aiming high as he prepares for his first season in the hotseat in London Two North. The 44-year-old South African took over from fellow countryman Peter Engledow in the close season. And like his predecess

WELWYN Rugby Club's new head coach Joe Duignam is aiming high as he prepares for his first season in the hotseat in London Two North.

The 44-year-old South African took over from fellow countryman Peter Engledow in the close season.

And like his predecessor he is set to breed a level of confidence and optimism throughout the Hobbs Way club.

"I am really looking forward to the new season, and hope to take over where Peter (Engledow) left off," said Duignam.

"I think we have the calibre of players here to achieve a good mid-table position.

"Then the season after that there's no reason why we can't go for promotion.

"We have maintained around 85 to 90 per cent of players from last season, as well as adding a couple of new faces, and with the youngsters we have coming through, there's no reason why we can't continue to improve."

Duignam has a wealth of coaching experience spanning over some nine years.

He has most recently being involved with the Herts county side as a specialist backline coach, and prior to that he spent many years coaching in his native South Africa, where he was involved with the U19 national squad.

He is also a qualified referee as well as a level three qualified coach.

And with this level of experience, especially with coaching the youngsters and up-and-coming talents in the game, Welwyn could well be on the verge of raising the bar once again.

"I am looking forward to what will be a strong and competitive league, but one that we can do well in," said Duignam.

"This club is a very professional outfit, and I have been hugely impressed by all the help and assistance I have been given since I got the job. It's all very positive."

With the game at this level focussed more than ever on fitness and free-flowing rugby, it could be an exciting season for the fans down at Hobbs Way.

And Duignam is indeed hoping to bring this kind of entertaining brand of rugby to the club.

He added: "I definitely want to bring in a more entertaining style of running rugby for the upcoming campaign.

"I really enjoy the running game, and the importance of ball retention.

"We have good pace at the club, so there's no reason why we can't adopt a more exciting style of play."

The 44-year-old coach also paid tribute to the man he replaced, saying how Engledow had carried out a "sterling job at the club and achieved a lot in his time at the helm."

Engledow was successful in keeping Welwyn in the league last season after a nail-biting tail-end saw them relegate London Nigerian with one game to go.

With derby rivals Stevenage being promoted into London Two North for the coming season, and the prospect of the uncompromising Letchworth to lock horns with, it's set up to be an exciting debut season for the second South African to take the Welwyn coaching job.

* It's a big day for the club next Saturday (August 16) with the annual Welwyn 10-a-side tournament.

Ten teams are due to compete throughout the afternoon with the action starting at 12.30pm.

The bar will also be open and there will be a barbecue whatever the weather.

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