Dynamic duo hoping county and international experience will lead Hatfield to glory

PUBLISHED: 17:24 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:06 13 August 2019

Leilani Feaunati and Sam Clapham, the new coaching team at Hatfield Queen Elizabeth Rugby Club. Picture: DAVID RAWLINGS

Leilani Feaunati and Sam Clapham, the new coaching team at Hatfield Queen Elizabeth Rugby Club. Picture: DAVID RAWLINGS


Hatfield Queen Elizabeth have taken a new direction ahead of their new season as they opt for a two-pronged coaching team.

Former Tring and Hertfordshire county scrum half Sam Clapham will take on the role of head coach at the Roe Hill-based rugby club where he will joined by former international Leilani Feaunati.

Clapham's time at Tring coincided with five promotions in six seasons as the west Herts side rose to National Three.

He was also making rapid strides off the pitch too having been player-coach at Buckingham and head coach at Tring Academy.

He has also worked for the RFU in rugby development for the past eight years and is a community coach for the county.

He says the move to Hatfield is one laced with potential.

"It's a good opportunity to work with a club that is ambitious, to work with guys that are playing rugby for the right reason and have the chance to put my own spin on a club," he said.

"I've been pleasantly surprised so far. There are some quality players in there and those that are eager to learn and get better, which is brilliant for a coach."

Feaunati's background is equally as impressive, even if this is her first coaching role.

Playing at either full-back, centre or winger, she has represented Samoa in both the 15 and seven-a-side versions of the game.

She counts Saracens as a former club and has toured South Africa where she played in front of Nelson Mandela to honour his birthday.

And like Clapham, Feaunati is excited for the challenge ahead.

She said: "I want to share my knowledge and help this club. It's a group of guys who are really passionate about rugby but they aren't the fittest, they haven't got the best skills yet.

"But potentially they will be a great team."

And the pair have set lofty goals.

Clapham said: "We can take the league by storm. I've set us goals to finish in the top three and score 400 points across the season.

"If we do that while playing the right sort of rugby and enjoying ourselves, then it will set the wheels in motion for a great future."

Feaunati was in full agreement, adding: "I would like us to come top two and make it to the cup finals."

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