Sunday, June 16, 2024

‘Hockey guy’ Danny Kerry joins England Rugby

Great Britain’s Olympic champion coach Danny Kerry has joined the staff at England Rugby as training coordinator.

Kerry, 51, left GB Hockey in January after 17 years as coach and performance director and will now join up with England head coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Autumn Series. Joe Lewis will move to a full-time senior analyst role, working closely with forwards coaches, while Kerry will link up with Andrea Furst, England Rugby’s sport psychologist who also played a pivotal role with the women’s team in Rio.

Jones said: “I’ve known Danny for a long time and his depth and breadth of coaching knowledge will be a real asset to us as staff as we work towards becoming the best coaching team in the world. Joe will move back to an analyst role where he has a real impact and suits his strengths and skills.”

Following GB hockey women’s gold in Rio, Kerry was a man in demand at other sports as he told the story of how they upset the odds to become Olympic champions in 2016.

Weeks after their success in Brazil, Kerry first went to England Rugby after being invited by Jones, who has also set upon Ric Charlesworth for coaching knowledge.

In late 2016, Jones said: “We’ve got the hockey guy coming in in a week or so – look at what he’s done with his hockey side.

“If you look on face value at the talent in that team compared to the Holland team, it’s probably not as great. So his ability to create such a dynamic and hard-working team is fascinating, so we’ll learn a lot from him.”

Plugging in the hockey mind

No sooner had Kerry celebrated Rio success, than he had his laptop out and was marking out mood maps and plotting a path to the Tokyo Games. 

Away from the admin and how he could defend the title – Rio was to be his last big title or medal – Kerry has also had time to step away from his laptop and share his success with other sporting minds.

At Kerry’s behest, he dropped British Cycling supremo Dave Brailsford a line to ask if they could meet. Considering this was at the time of the controversy over therapeutic use exemptions (TUE), he still gave Kerry his time.

Kerry was also invited to spend a morning with Jones and his backroom staff at Twickenham. Kerry recalled: “It felt like they plugged me in and downloaded me. It was great and feels nice to be asked by a sport such as rugby.

“We’re hoping to build a relationship where our coaches can observe some of things they do.”

Jones was interested in how the training environment and team sessions at Bisham were run. “It’s supported by academic research and a particular way of developing athletes,” explained Kerry. 

“It’s different to how they are normally developed and there is a lot of chaos and randomness to it, which is deliberate as no two things are the same. They might look and feel the same, but the distances, angles and opponents are always different.”

Total Hockey


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