New rugby coach for Diss

Diss RFC have appointed a new head coach as they launch their bid to bounce back from their relegation from the National League, writes Joseph Malby.

Phil Sharpe is the new man in charge – and he says he relishing the chance to coach a men's team for the first time having previously coached the Eastern Counties Women's squad.

Sharpe, 43, started his playing career at Staines RFC and represented Middlesex before moving to Bury St Edmunds in the early 1990s.

He played predominantly as a number eight, before moving to second row during the latter parts of his career.

Having inherited a team which has just stepped down after a season playing at the highest level in their history there is no question about his objective – though he is not making any promises about the time scale.

'Obviously, a return to the National League is the aim, but it is not the immediate aim,' he said. 'I intend to lay down the foundations first.

'One of my main philosophies is to put my faith in youth. It is a superb set-up here; we have got some fantastic rugby players in the under-17s, under-15s and colts. The future is bright.'

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Club director of rugby David Hall said: 'I am delighted to have appointed Phil as head coach.

'I believe he will provide us with a new focus next season, with stable leadership and a pragmatic approach to winning rugby.'

Diss RFC are currently holding fitness coaching sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, everyone welcome.

Meanwhile, on Sunday Diss are hosting a women's rugby exhibition match between Norfolk and Suffolk as part of an RFU women's rugby open day.

The open day will be an ideal opportunity for women to try rugby in a relaxed, fun environment. No previous rugby or sporting experience is necessary.

The event will begin late morning and the agenda will include a taster session, question and answer session with players and coaches, and the exhibition XV's match.

Diss RFC are hopeful that there may be representatives from the Elite Squad of the RFUW and are awaiting confirmation. For details contact Phil Sharpe at