Club Review - Update from Tarquin McDonald
On 29th October 2021, I shared a club update setting out our intention to use the pause in the Premiership to analyse what we do and scrutinise each component part.
Stuart, our coaches and high-performance heads have reviewed the key areas of our game, training and preparation with a focus on our pre-season and first blocks of games for this season. I also engaged Ed Griffiths on a short-term basis to spend time with Stuart, our coaches and high performance heads, our senior players, and a cross-section of staff to provide an external perspective on our ‘system’.
Our ‘system’ comprises our people and structure, what we do, how we do it, and how we bring it all together. Ed’s experience enables him to provide a valuable external perspective on these areas.
This examination of our on-field game, our training and preparation, our wider environment and off-field system has concluded that, despite the current run of performances, a significant amount of what we do works well and the areas for change are focused and specific.
We have invested heavily in our academy and player pathway since 2016. This area was once rated among the least effective in English rugby. It is now widely rated among the most successful in the country and is producing Premiership and International quality players.
Likewise, our Performance Analysis, Medical and Sports Science departments provide an excellent service to our coaches and players. The overall quality of our people, their passion and commitment was a consistent theme in Ed Griffiths’ feedback.
We are all proud of this and will continue to invest in these areas. They are a huge part of our identity and a key route to the success we want to achieve.
Alongside this, the review also highlighted a number of key areas that we can focus on to improve our performance on and off the field both in the short, medium and long term.
One of these key areas is our resource from a people and an environment perspective, and I can confirm today specific actions we are taking in these areas.
Defence coach appointment
On the field, we have been clear that our set-piece, discipline and defence has not been good enough. These key areas are the platform to our game, and we must improve if we are to deliver winning performances.
I can confirm that we will add coaching resource in the area of defence and news on this appointment will be made as soon as we have confirmed a candidate. Our intention is to seek the right person, someone who can contribute and make an impact this season. They will start as soon as they are available. This will also facilitate an enhanced focus on our set-piece.
Physiotherapy and psychology resource
We will also add to our resource within our physiotherapy and performance psychology departments. These roles are critical to our performance and the need since September has increased in both areas.
Our focus here is to get the most value from every minute we have at Farleigh. There are some specific areas we will look at regarding our schedule and facilities to further enhance our weekly programme, allowing the performances to follow on the weekend.
We will invite our Season Ticket Holders and Club Members to attend our next supporter event where we will share further detail of the review, and focus the discussion with the panel on the review findings and actions arising. The event is due to take place between our Leinster and La Rochelle games and will be sent directly to supporters in the coming days.