Richardson 'very happy' to stay on as Hornets head-coach for third season

Hornets head-coach Jon Richardson

In his first season as head-coach Jon Richardson picked up 17 wins, one draw and five losses from his 23 games in charge of the club in all competitions. - Credit: Josh Thomas

Jon Richardson says he is "very happy and privileged" to stay on as head coach of Hornets for a third season.

Richardson led the club to promotion in his first campaign in charge, after taking over the role from Jack Gadd in the summer of 2019, as they secured a place in the South West Premier for the first time since 2018.

Gadd, who had been head coach for the last few months following Stephen Pape's departure halfway through the 2018-19 season, paved the way for Richardson to lead the side, having originally started as Women's under-18s coach at the beginning of the campaign.

Jon Richardson and Jack Gadd

Jon Richardson took over the role of head-coach from Jack Gadd during the summer of 2019. - Credit: Archant

"This will take me into my third season as head coach although admittedly it’s hard to control this one," said Richardson.

"It was an easy decision. My initial thoughts were to try and do two seasons but I’ve enjoyed it so much and I feel there’s so much more to come from this squad that walking away was just not an option for me.

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"The club is in great shape, we have plans to improve the existing clubhouse so work will start on that in the summer.

"We have a fantastic and committed committee that do a superb job off the field, our facilities are top drawer with the AGP and club gym.

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"The players are hungry for success, loyal and great fun, so why on Earth would I not want to remain part of that."

After first joining the club as a 10-year-old, Richardson has held many roles with the club, including being named as joint first-team coach, working with the colts and coaching both the under-15s and under-16s in his on-and-off 33-year spell with the club.

Rob Dempsey in action for Hornets

Rob Dempsey has also agreed to stay on as Hornets as assistant and backs-coach for the third consecutive season. - Credit: James Wain Sports Photography

"It’s a long association but I feel very happy and privileged to be head coach," he added.

"I’m looking forward to the future and it’s exciting times. You just try and leave the job with the club in a better place than when you started. I don’t know how long it will last so I’ll just try and enjoy every moment while I can.

"Rob Dempsey is also staying as backs coach which is great news and I hope Paul Sheppard will agree to continue with the twos. Along with his assistant Mark Millman they have made a big difference to how that team is performing and if the twos perform there is pressure on the ones and that can only be a good thing.

"The future really does look bright at The Nest and I’m delighted I can play a part in that.

"I’m very happy to commit my future to the club, it’s five minutes from my house the club is full of people I know and as long they want me here and I feel I can have a positive input then I’ve no reason to go elsewhere."

Ozzy James in action for Hornets

Try scorer Ozzy James in action for the Hornets during their 38-10 victory over Devonport Services last March, the last match before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Josh Thomas

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have seen grassroots rugby grind to a halt.

In March it will be one year since any rugby has been played in the town, which has denied Hornets a chance to play in the South West Premier after finishing champions of the South West One West.

Richardson admits there are far more important things to worry about rather than knowing when they can play again, but when they do, his side will ready for the task ahead.

"After the promotion last season it’s been very frustrating not to get going this year, as I really felt our boys were ready for the challenge," he said.

"It would've been great to see them test themselves at that level again. Having said that there are people losing their lives due to this terrible virus so not being able to play rugby in the grand scheme of things is pretty unimportant.

"I think as a group we have accepted that it’s what is needed so we just have to get on with it and hope that by June we can go full tilt into pre-season.

Matt Parker in action for Hornets

Captain Matt Parker in action for Hornets during their 60-22 win against Bridgwater & Albion last February. - Credit: Mark Atherton

"Playing in South West Premier is a massively exciting challenge for us. It’s a competitive league that will test our players and that’s something we’ll all look forward to.

"We’ll treat every team with the utmost respect, in that we’ll have to be at our best every single time we run out but we won’t be daunted by anyone.

"We will still try to score every time we get the ball and resist the temptation to copy top-class rugby at the moment where kicking the ball aimlessly seems to be common practice! It will be hard work and good fun and I can’t wait."

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