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Rugby coach comes under scrutiny from two of the best

Community coaching scheme gives grassroots helpers a boost

Malcolm Howe



Rugby coach comes under scrutiny from two of the best

Joe Harwood coaching alongside England captain Chris Robshaw

NEWBURY rugby coach Joe Harwood was invited by England Rugby’s insurers QBE to help coach a session alongside England captain Chris Robshaw and Conor O’Shea at Warlingham RFC, Robshaw’s first grassroots rugby club.
Having recently qualified as a Level 2 coach through the QBE Coaching Club, Harwood was one of a selection of community coaches who attended this surprise session.
The visit was organised by QBE Insurance to launch QBE My Coach – a national competition that looks to reward coaches who have inspired and supported the success of amateur and professional players alike. Four competition winners will receive a coaching session from a legendary rugby personality at their club as well as a place on the QBE Coaching Club, allowing them to become a Level 2 qualified coach.
“At first, it was quite daunting having to tell Chris Robshaw what to do and ask Conor O’Shea to help out on a session that you’ve planned,” said Harwood, who also coaches at Pangbourne College, for Berkshire RFC and wth the London Irish academy.
“However, after settling in, it was an enlightening and fulfilling experience and lots of fun. It was great to work with a different set of kids who I don’t normally coach, and who are just as enthusiastic about the game. Of course, meeting the England captain was a huge bonus too.”
He now takes 25 rugby sessions a week for ages ranging from under six to adult: “The best thing about coaching is seeing a player’s ability develop. If a player succeeds at a skill you taught them, that’s a great feeling,” he said.
Chris Robshaw and Conor O’Shea are the official ambassadors of QBE, the business insurance specialist. To make a nomination and enter the QBE My Coach competition, head to

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