Halifax RU’s new coaching team

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Halifax RUFC have moved quickly to fill the coaching void created by the shock departure of Neil Spence.

Ovenden Park club officials have turned to a handful of experienced players following Spence’s switch to Bradford Salem on the eve of pre-season training.

Dean Cotton, Gareth Matthews, Matt Bradley and Phil Gallagher will now work with director of rugby Tony Curtis to try to improve the first team’s fortunes.

Halifax finished bottom of Yorkshire Three last season, winning two and drawing three of their 26 games.

Cotton, Matthews, Bradley and Curtis are all well known to the current squad through their involvements at Ovenden Park over the years, while Gallagher will combine his new role assisting Halifax with his current position at Queensbury RLFC.

Curtis said: “The timing’s of Neil’s decision is far from ideal. However, the club would like to wish him well with his new venture at Salem.

“Neil’s departure, though, has allowed us to rethink our approach and as a result we are delighted to put in place a new structure.

“Deano, Gaz and Matty are extremely passionate about Halifax RUFC, while Phil is someone we have huge respect for.

“As individuals they each have a different skill-set which we believe can only benefit the players and the club as a whole.

“I’m genuinely excited for the season ahead and I’m looking forward to working with them as we look to bounce back.”

Curtis continues as director of rugby to oversee the new set-up, with Cotton responsible for the forwards, Matthews looking after defence, Bradley taking charge of fitness and Gallagher helping with the backs.

Cotton made more that 100 appearances for Halifax, establishing himself as a lynchpin in the pack, while he also had a spell at Heath.

Matthews, a former rugby league centre, played a key role in the club’s promotion to Yorkshire Three under Giles Hetherington in 2015.

Bradley has been a stalwart of the club having come through the ranks of the old Vikings team.

Gallagher previously worked with the backs at Old Brods, assisting another familiar face at Halifax in John Cole.

Training starts on Tuesday, July 4 (7pm), with old and new players welcome, but the players will get a chance to speak to the coaches at a get-together at Ovenden Park this Thursday (7pm).