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Sports appointments: September 2020 – Independent Education Today



sports appointments
Phil Burgess during U-14 rugby practice

Cranleigh School

Cranleigh School has appointed Phil Burgess, an England and Great Britain Sevens player, as the school’s head of rugby and 1st XV coach. He will lead the rugby programme until the end of December before continuing his preparation for the 2021 Summer Olympics on Tokyo, with the GB Sevens Team.

Burgess has played professional rugby for 11 years, and signed professional terms for Harlequins after school. After university, he played for the Cornish Pirates and then joined the England Sevens squad in the 2013-2014 season. A back-row forward, Burgess was part of the Great Britain squad that claimed silver at the Rio Olympics. He won silver at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 2018 and bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

Burgess said: “I’m really excited about the opportunity to work at such a prestigious and successful school. I endeavour to bring the same passion and enjoyment I have as a player into my new role as a coach and I look forward to becoming part of the Cranleigh team.”

sports appointments
Suzy Larkin

Eastbourne College

Former tennis tour professional and coach Suzy Larkin has been appointed as performance tennis coach at Eastbourne College.

In her time as a touring professional, Larkin reached a career high of 620 in the world rankings and 14 in Great Britain. She is the current Sussex County Champion and has enjoyed recent success in GB Tour events; she played nationally plus internationally as a junior. Larkin is an LTA and Professional Tennis Registry coach.

Larkin worked with Eastbourne College pupils training for GB Tour events earlier this year, with the school saying she made an “immediate impression with her technical coaching and ability to instil good training habits”.

As well as working on court individually and in small groups, Larkin will oversee of the weekly tennis training programme, including fitness, strength and conditioning, and mental skills work. Larkin holds a mathematics degree from Oxford Brooks University and will also take on the role of mentor and tutor to pupils at the school.

sports appointments
Mel Wilder

Millfield School

Mel Wilder, an accomplished event rider, has joined Millfield School this September as its new equestrian sports programme manager. Wilder will help chief coach Danny Anholt develop a new approach for equestrian and education at the school.

Wilder reached international success over 30 years to CCI5 including competing at the Badminton Horse Trials. She has produced several horses to compete at the highest level with success at Blenheim and Bramham Horse Trials.

She also has experience in business management, having held senior management roles in the Ministry of Defence and British multinational defence technology company, QinetiQ. With a degree in psychological sciences and a masters in research methods in psychology, Wilder has explored human performance in high-stress environments, and the effects of physical fitness and mental performance, nutrition and sleep.

Millfield is one of few British schools with equestrian facilities on campus.

Wilder said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be joining Millfield, to raise the profile of equestrianism, develop our young riders’ horsemanship skills and to ensure we are committed to the welfare of the horses in our care.”

Related news: Staff appointments: September 2020

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7s World Cup

Can the USA help Australian rugby league and rugby union?



There is no doubt that both international rugby union and rugby league federations would love their sports to grow through added interest in the United States of America. (more…)

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7s World Cup

Duo quit Eddie Jones’ England coaching set-up



Two members of Eddie Jones’ backroom staff have stepped down from their coaching roles with England.

The Rugby Football Union has confirmed the departure of assistant coaches Simon Amor (attack) and Jason Ryles (skills).

Amor and the RFU have mutually decided to part company so that he can explore new opportunities, whilst Ryles has chosen to stay in Australia with his family due to the challenges created by Covid-19.

For England’s summer series of fixtures, John Mitchell (defence) and Matt Proudfoot (forwards) will continue in their roles while Jones will oversee the attack until England recruit a new coach for that facet of the game.

Amor joined the RFU in 2013 to head up the men’s sevens programme. During his time, he led Team GB Sevens men to silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the England Sevens men to silver at the 2018 World Cup, and bronze for the England men’s and women’s teams at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He also oversaw the integration of the men’s and women’s programmes and helped both teams qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

He moved to work with the men’s XVs as attack coach in 2020 and was part of the England coaching staff that won that year’s Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup.

Ryles joined England on a full-time basis as skills coach in October 2020, after winning the NRL Grand Final with Melbourne Storm. He was also a key part of the coaching staff for the successful Autumn Nations Cup campaign.

Commenting on the coaching changes, Jones said: ‘I’d like to thank Simon and Jason for their contributions to England.

‘I would like to commend Simon’s outstanding diligence and his hard work, and I have no doubt he will find a role soon that suits him perfectly.

‘With Jason, the Covid-19 restrictions have proved too difficult for him and his family to overcome, which we fully understand but are disappointed for us and the team.

‘They both leave with the best wishes of everyone involved with England and for their future pursuits in the game.’

Photo: Getty Images

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7s World Cup

African rugby teams are coming together to prepare for the Olympic Games and Olympic Repechage – Final day – European Gaming Industry News



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World Rugby’s reach across Africa grew further as Algeria and Burundi became full members of the international federation

Algeria and Burundi achieve full member status of international federation; World Rugby ( membership stands at 128 countries, including 19 associate members; Both nations will enter Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying via the Rugby Africa Cup 2021; Rapid growth in African rugby being led by strategic focus on youth and women’s rugby; More than 350,000 registered female players recorded in Africa in 2020, up from 50,000 in 2012.

World Rugby’s reach across Africa grew further as Algeria and Burundi became full members of the international federation following approval at the World Rugby Council meeting, held virtually today.

The African nations were successful after achieving all the necessary criteria and their elevation to full member status sees World Rugby’s membership stand at 128, including 109 full members and 19 associate members.

See full List of World Rugby Member Unions >> (

The announcement follows the launch of World Rugby’s new Strategic Plan 2021-25 in April, which provides a framework for the continued development and expansion of rugby, supporting unions and regions in building capacity and capability, as the international federation strives to continue the journey towards becoming a global sport for all.

Both the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby and the Federation Burundaise de Rugby are full members of Rugby Africa and have sustainable women’s rugby and development programmes in place as they continue to grow as rugby nations.

Burundi currently has 2750 registered players and has been an associate member of World Rugby since 2004, while Algeria has over 80 men’s and 40 women’s teams and became an associate member in 2019.

Both countries will enter the qualification journey for Rugby World Cup 2023 as they are set to compete in the Rugby Africa Cup 2021. The competition begins with a repechage event in June before the group phase sees four pools of three teams each playing a round-robin tournament at a single venue per pool.

Burundi will compete in the Rugby Africa Cup repechage in Burkina Faso from 5-13 June which also includes Burkina Faso and Cameroon. The winner of the repechage will join Rugby Africa Cup Pool D in Tunisia in July together with Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Meanwhile Algeria will play in the Rugby Africa Cup Pool C in Kampala against Ghana and hosts Uganda from 10-18 July.

The best two teams from each pool qualify for Rugby Africa Cup 2022, which serves as the final round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier for Africa. The eventual winner of the Rugby Africa Cup in August 2022 will qualify for RWC 2023 as Africa 1, entering group A alongside hosts France, while the runner-up will enter the final qualification tournament for another chance at qualifying.

Increasing the reach and diversity of the international federation’s membership represents a key element of World Rugby’s global growth strategy, ensuring that upon meeting the relevant criteria unions are provided with a framework and support to continue their growth and development as part of the World Rugby family.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are very pleased to welcome Algeria and Burundi as full members, reflecting their commitment and progress in achieving the relevant criteria, thanks to the many talented coaches, administrators and volunteers involved in growing the sport.

“We are dedicated to the sustainable global growth of our sport, combined with strong governance and there is no doubt that Africa is a key region with huge potential for the future development of rugby. Africa is home to the current men’s Rugby World Cup winners and we will continue to work closely with Rugby Africa to ensure we provide emerging unions such as Algeria and Burundi with continuous support and a solid framework to further accelerate the growth of the sport across the region.”

Mr Khaled Babbou, President of Rugby Africa said: “I am delighted to welcome the Burundian and Algerian rugby unions as full members of World Rugby, bringing the total number of African member unions of World Rugby to 20. Rugby in Africa is growing rapidly and our strategic focus on youth and women’s rugby is evidence of this dynamic growth.

“In 2020, we recorded more than 350,000 registered female players in Africa, up from 50,000 in 2012. This is the result of a firm collective commitment from all African unions. I wish to congratulate Mr Albert Havyarimana, President of the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby and Mr Abdelkader Sofian Ben Hassen, President of the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby for their dedication and relentless efforts culminating in this recognition today. Both countries are in the running for Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification for the first time in their history and the entire African rugby family wishes them good luck in this new chapter.”

Albert Havyarimana, President of the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby: “This affiliation was long awaited by all the participants of Burundian rugby and comes as a reward for many years of hard work. From now on, it becomes a rugby legacy for Burundi, that we will seek to preserve and build upon for the development of rugby. It is an unforgettable event for the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby (FBR). Joining the global rugby family will enable Burundian rugby players to develop rugby on all levels.

“Although this recognition comes at a time when the world is going through a difficult situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are confident that we will overcome these challenges. Achieving this membership required great effort from all of us and it will now enable us to accelerate our growth. The FBR takes this opportunity to express its appreciation to all companies and individuals who committed themselves to bringing this journey to fruition, including various players and coaches of the clubs and their technical and medical staff.

“This membership, far from being an end in itself, is rather the beginning of a challenge and calls on all of us to step up our efforts to make Burundi Rugby shine at the regional and international levels.”

Sofiane Abdelkader Benhassen, President of the Fédération Algérienne de Rugby said: “This long-awaited membership of World Rugby as a full member will provide us with support in four main areas. It will allow us to accelerate the growth of the game in the country. Secondly, Algeria is currently ranked sixth in the African rankings, and will now come into the world rankings. We will from now on be able to participate in World Rugby’s General Assemblies and have a voice that counts. And finally, with this membership, Algeria can enter the qualification journey for the Olympic Games and the Men’s and Women’s Sevens and Rugby World Cups. I would like to thank Rugby Africa and its President, Khaled Babbou, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Olympic Committee and ACNOA as well as our private partners for their support. And I congratulate all the clubs presidents and founders of Algerian rugby and the entire union staff for their relentless efforts that have led us to this wonderful day.”

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