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Interview: Newbury Blues new head coach has ambitious plans for the future

JAMES McAvoy is relishing the chance to take Newbury Blues to greater heights.

McAvoy took over as Blues head coach last week, replacing Paul Archer, who is becoming director of rugby.

And he makes no bones about it – promotion from South West 1 East is the goal for next season.

James McAvoy (centre)
James McAvoy (centre)

There is still the faintest of chances that Blues could be promoted this year if other clubs pull out, but it’s a long shot.

He said: “With our playing style and our depth, we should be playing at a higher level.

“Our playing models and principles will not be changing – we play a ‘Newbury’ style and that will stay the same, but it will be tweaked and refined.

“New generations are coming through and we have always given Colts players a chance at senior level. In my tenure I want the club to move forward and be more representative of our heritage and of the town.”

McAvoy, who is head of boys PE at Kennet School in Thatcham, added: “It should be an exciting time for players, coaches and supporters.

“We know we can play at a higher level. We beat Bracknell twice and Banbury, but we made a couple of mistakes on the road.

“In a way not going up could be a plus for the club as it gives us a year to develop depth in the squad and give more experience to the Colts who are coming through.

“Newbury is a good rugby town, with the club and the schools and the many clubs around the area.

“We should be driving more in the community to recruit players.”

McAvoy played National 1 rugby with Worthing and has worked with the London Irish Academy as well as being head coach of Berkshire under-16s.

He joined Blues last year as attack and backs coach and now takes over in the hot seat.

He has a degree from Cardiff Met University and this year completed an advanced coaching award with the RFU.

And he is also excited about developing his partnership with Archer, whose main aim will be to ensure that the club is aligned from mini rugby, through the Colts to the senior set-up.

McAvoy said: “It has been an excellent year with Arch. We work well together and the balance between us is good.”

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