Interview with rugby professional Olly Morgan

SoGlos speaks to former Gloucester Rugby player, Olly Morgan, about his impressive career, expert coaching, and passion for the sport.

Former professional rugby player Olly Morgan now boasts the accolade of being Director of Rugby at Cheltenham College, in addition to running R360 Rugby Camps with Josh Frape of the Rugby Players Association.

Offering the chance to see inside a professional environment whilst receiving elite coaching, the camps also encompass other aspects necessary for improving your game, such as nutrition, injury prevention and personal development.

Discussing his career highlights, passion for coaching, and how young players can benefit from the R360 Camps, Olly Morgan chats all-things rugby with SoGlos.

Can you tell SoGlos readers a little bit about yourself, and your role at R360?

My name is Olly Morgan; and I was a former professional rugby player for Gloucester between 2005 and 2014, and am now Director of Rugby at Cheltenham College.

I previously ran my own Rugby Camps (Up and Under) when I was playing and found it hugely rewarding from a coaching perspective. However, with an 18- month injury I decided to put it on hold and focus on my rehab.

Since retiring myself and Josh Frape of the RPA setup R360 Rugby Camps, with the aim to focus on the holistic side of the game.

What first sparked your passion for rugby?

Sport in general has been a huge part of my life, mainly instigated from my parents. I started Rugby at U8s when I lived in Bournemouth and continued playing all through school and club. The buzz I got from playing with friends and being involved in a team really sparked my passion for the game.

As a player, what part of coaching do you feel had the most benefit for your game?

One of the biggest parts of coaching that I feel impacted my game was having an approachable coach. A discussion with open and honest feedback not only gave me an indication of where I stood within the team, but also gave me clarity on areas of improvement to make me a better player.

How has your career in rugby developed and changed over the years?

Rugby has changed significantly from when I first turned professional in 2005. Tactically it is still quite similar, but physically the collisions each year are getting bigger. There is little room for error now and any mistake is punished at the top level.

The science involved in performances is also extremely advanced, such as GPS monitors.

You’ve had an impressive rugby career and played for Gloucester and England; what has been your personal highlight?

My personal highlight has to be getting my England Cap at a sold-out Twickenham with my wife and family watching. All have witnessed the hard work and sacrifice I’ve made, and to achieve it at 21 was special.

R360 Rugby Camps are designed to be different from your typical rugby camp, and concentrate on not just the quality of coaching, but the learning and educational aspects that are often neglected.

You’re now director of rugby at Cheltenham College; how do you find coaching some children who aren’t as interested in the sport as you, and how do you pique their enthusiasm?

Coaching at Cheltenham College is fantastic and extremely rewarding. We have a large number in the Gloucester Academy who are at the elite end and also some that have never touched a rugby ball.

The diverse nature really does test your coaching ability but is particularly enjoyable. For example, coaching an U14 C team player through the school, and then on to then represent the 1st XV four years later is special.

To keep everyone interested you have to set achievable goals (personal or team) which is often done through games as it has an element of fun!

What’s the most rewarding part of coaching?

The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the development of players you have coached, and the transferable skills they take into everyday life.

What’s the most challenging aspect of coaching?

The most challenging is keeping everyone engaged and motivated.

You’ve led the Gloucester Sevens team to two Premiership titles – can you describe what it’s like to have such success?

Coaching the Gloucester Sevens was the closest feeling I have had to playing, which is why you saw me run onto the pitch at the final whistle! Back-to-back titles was also great, especially with the little time we had to prepare. Being new to coaching at the time, it was a great experience.

What can boys and girls expect from the R360 Rugby Camps?

R360 Rugby Camps are designed to be different from your typical rugby camp, and concentrate on not just the quality of coaching, but the learning and educational aspects that are often neglected, such as injury prevention, leadership and nutrition. Ultimately though they will be fun and enjoyable!

How much emphasis do you place on these educational aspects of rugby?

With the recent media reports around the physicality of the sport and how it’s rapidly changing, it is especially prevalent for parents and young kids to gain a good understanding of all these aspects to give them a head start.

How can the R360 Rugby Camps benefit players’ games?

The coaching provision at R360 camps is where we feel attendees will excel.

The technical and tactical skills learnt could all be implemented into school and club programs, and with the appearances from current professionals, gives an all-round insight.

Final question, outside of rugby, are there any other sports you’d like to play?

I really enjoy hockey and tennis. I played a lot when I was at school and now have the opportunity to pick it back up working at Cheltenham College.

For more information visit directly.

© SoGlos
Monday 05 June 2017

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