After going without a designated coach during their first full year of existence, one of the Clayton Rugby Football Club’s top priorities for 2015 was to appoint a Head Coach to help guide the development of the club’s teams. With a fast-growing playing base, it was an absolute necessity for the club. After a few months of searching and a handful of candidates that showed interest in coaching the Bootleggers, the club is proud to announce the addition of two coaches for the 2015 season.
The Clayton Rugby Football Club is proud to officially announce that JG Van Graan has accepted the Head Coaching role and Rich Munro will serve as his Assistant Coach.
Even better is that both coaches are already familiar with the program and the rugby movement that is taking place in Clayton. Van Graan and Munro combined to make 16 appearances for the Bootleggers in 2014. Both will be taking a step back from playing to help guide the growing team.
Born and raised in South Africa in a rugby playing family, Van Graan played AVS Free State Select Side while in High School. After graduation, Van Graan moved to the United States in 1998 and played club rugby for Western Suburbs in Northern Virginia and then the Frederick Rugby Club in Maryland before a back injury forced him into retiring from playing. After moving to North Carolina, Van Graan became involved with the Clayton Copperheads youth program which then led to becoming involved with the Clayton men’s side.
Along with his work with the men’s teams, Van Graan also serves as the Head Coach of the Copperhead’s Middle School team where he has honed his coaching skills.
“The more and more I have submersed myself in rugby knowledge, I am finding that I love coaching even more that playing,” said Van Graan. “I like to watch coaches at higher levels. I like to see many different styles of rugby and then put my own spin on it. I like to look at teams from the 80’s like the 1989 Springbok side or the early 80’s French teams, take that beautiful running rugby they played and mix it with today’s fast-moving forward packs.”
“I see the Bootleggers becoming a team that can ruck better faster and more efficient than anybody else in our league. Fast, efficient ball gives us the opportunity to run wide and score around the corners. Defensively, I see a team that will defend with the discipline and determination to never give up.”
Munro brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table as the club’s Assistant Coach. Munro began playing rugby in 1984 while he was the Head Wrestling Coach at a High School in Ohio. While playing for the Akron Rugby Football Club Munro played on three Midwest 7’s Championship teams, represented the Midwest at three National 7’s Championships from 1987 to 1989, and played for the Midwest title in 15s in 1990. Munro played Select Side for Ohio and represented the Midwest three times. Rich also serves as an Assistant Coach with the Clayton Copperheads Middle School team.
“I am very excited and honored to help coach the Clayton Bootleggers Rugby Club,” added Munro. “They have a great mix of experienced players and newcomers to the game of rugby. Although the club is only starting its second full year of existence, it has come a long way to reaching some of its goals. The Bootleggers have formed a brotherhood that allows the young and old to enjoy the great sport of rugby. I am very fortunate to be able to play a role in the development of the Clayton Bootleggers Rugby Club.”
“The Clayton Rugby Football Club is beyond excited to have JG and Rich on board,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “We’re at a pivotal time in our development where a strong coaching presence is needed. We have made the club accessible to players that are new or just starting to play rugby and it is important that they get proper coaching to get the most out of their experience. While at the same time it is important to have forward thinking coaches to push our experienced players to become even better.”
The Clayton Rugby Football Club opens up their Spring season on March 28th against Duke Grads. If you are interested in learning more about the club or if you’d like to start playing, please contact the club at [email protected] for more information. The club is actively recruiting men 18 & over to play. No experience is necessary.