Harlequins is today (Wednesday 9th August) excited to confirm its new Academy coaching structure heading into the 2017/18 season.
Jim Evans, who appeared 174 times for Harlequins across ten years at the Club, has been promoted to Academy Head Coach following on from Howard Graham who held the position for eight years.
Graham has been instrumental in bringing through current senior squad members throughout his time with the Club, helping Harlequins’ Academy gain the reputation it has today of being one of the best in the country.
Women’s Rugby World Cup winning Coach Gary Street has joined the team as Academy Coach Development Officer; driving the standards across the Academy with a specific focus on the Developing Player Programme. Street will balance his role in the Academy alongside responsibilities as Harlequins Ladies’ joint Head Coach.
Warren Abrahams, who recently coached England 7s to a Silver medal at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games, remains as Academy Assistant Coach, taking on more responsibility with Harlequins’ best schoolboy players and coaching both the Club’s 7s and 10s teams.
Like Abrahams, Tom Williams will continue his time at the Club as Academy Transition Coach and will continue to oversee the development of Harlequins’ full time Academy players.
Tony Diprose remains in the role of Academy and Global Development Director to oversee the programme, which includes the Club’s expansion into the USA and other developing rugby regions.
Confirming the 2017/18 Academy coaching structure, Diprose said: “I would like to thank Howard Graham for the work he has done over the last eight seasons; helping to develop the Academy to its current strong position. He’s had a positive influence on a number of players who are now making a real impression on our first 15 and I wish him well in his future.
“I am, however, hugely excited about the reorganisation and additions to the Academy coaching group. We are an ambitious team and will be striving for even higher standards to maintain our reputation as one of the best development programmes in the country.
“Tom Williams has already made a very positive impact in working alongside myself in driving the full-time Academy players as they look to make that next step to being regular first 15 players. He has used and shared his own experiences as a professional rugby player as well as continuing to develop his coaching skills with Harlequins, Esher and England U20s.
“Jim Evans deserves the opportunity to step up to the Academy Head Coach role and will oversee the Academy schoolboy programme as well as having specific responsibility for the forwards coming through the pathway. Warren Abrahams will add a fresh impetus to the work we do with our best schoolboy backs and will lead on the coaching side as we look to expand our involvement in 7s and 10s. He has already shown his abilities while working with Simon Amor in the England 7s programme and has led Harlequins teams in the recent Melrose 7s, World Club 10s in Mauritius, and Singha 7s events.
“We will also continue to expand our horizons with regular visits to the USA to follow up the work already done by Gary Street and myself. This will see us look at talent identification as well as helping to develop the players and coaches of the future in that part of the world.”