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Management, Director of Rugby, Head Coach, the Coaching Ticket

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Management, Director of Rugby, Head Coach, the Coaching Ticket Empty Management, Director of Rugby, Head Coach, the Coaching Ticket

Post by thebandwagonsociety Tue 07 Mar 2023, 10:01 am

What does a person in one of these roles mean to you?
What does a good one look like?
How much should short term match results (the game was a slaughter), long term trends (a couple of seasons) or landmark targets (RWC, promotion, etc) factor into each.

Is it correct that each role can use the subsequent one as cannon fodder when the mob are at the gate?
Can a person be faultless, probably not, but how many poor results/metrics are acceptable?
How much does the journalist reporting narrative drive what's going to happen?


Where is it done well? Where do people think that they are one piece of the puzzle away?

thebandwagonsociety

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Post by Poorfour Tue 07 Mar 2023, 8:24 pm

One thing that fans often forget is that rugby can be very sensitive to things beyond the DoR's control - a run of injuries or even a short turnaround between matches can lead to a bad result or a bad season.

To my mind, a good DoR is one who fits the culture of the club, isn't too swayed by the week on week pressures, but sets a clear vision for how the team will play, and presides over the hiring or development of good coaches and good players.
Poorfour
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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed 08 Mar 2023, 10:04 am

I like the line 'fits the culture of the club'. There is definitely a chemistry thing there. How much does this culture exist outside of these roles versus how much of that culture is defined or a result of the tone from the top.

My nearest provincial club is Leinster who are in a great position these days, but when you're potentially inside the bubble you might not notice or identify parts and pieces....
I'd have seen the likes of a Contepomi signing back in the day as a great 'fit' for the club, add to the fancy backline. I always thought the enforcer of a Trevor Brennan was let go a bit too easily. I wonder how the culture or environment improved over time. Did it need Cullen and Jennings to go to Leicester and see what a pack of forwards was meant to look like? Did it need a Cheika to change the culture that the pack wasn't to be bullied. Could Schmidt have implemented his style of play at Leinster if there had been any person other than Cheika in before him to fix a more fundamental flaw? I don't know.

I wonder about the short tenure of Matt O'Connor, he came in for some key player retirements and had unfortunate circumstances. But did he go so early because of that or because there always appeared to be an excuse at the end of his tongue.

And Cullen taking over after him, one of his smartest decisions was to take ownership of the DoR role and get Lancaster in for head coach. It was possibly niave at the time, but there is a major thing amount coach/dor's that they control everything. Without necessarily identifying their own areas of strength and weakness. But in some ways that decision improved the culture throughout the club as it seemed to suggest that anyone in any role has areas of strength and weakness. We can all improve. It sounds simple, but the amount of times a coach gets so insular in their approach and consume power/control like a dictator, that adage that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, is often seen across sport.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 08 Mar 2023, 11:25 am

I’ve been through several generations of DoR as a Quins fan, so some reflections on those:

Mark Evans (CEO and DOR) - was an excellent CEO but doing both jobs was too much for one guy and led to Quins’ relegation

Dean Richards (DOR) - did a huge amount for the club but also created quite an old school culture and his illicit use of blood capsules… well, let’s not go there again. However, he showed with multiple clubs that he could get a lot out of the players. I think he’s still the most successful DOR never to have had an international gig.

Conor O’Shea (DOR) - took the foundations that Deano had laid and adjusted the culture and style enough to win trophies. I think he’s shown with his roles in Italy and now with the RFU that he’s a good DOR but his real talent lies in creating player and coach pathways - a lot of Franco Smith’s success in Italy is built on systems that O’Shea put in place, and he set up the English Academy system in his first stint at the RFU.

John Kingston (DOR) - Kingston was head coach for Evans, Deano and COS and was hugely respected in that role, but ultimately wasn’t a great DOR. Like Andy Robinson when he took on the England role from Clive Woodward, someone should probably have told him that he already had his ideal job and should stick with it.

At this point, Quins split the role into a DOR role (in charge of all the day to day coaching) and a General Manager role (in charge of the overall rugby department including recruitment and development of coaches and recruitment of players). Billy Millard has been the GM since the role was created and while he’s very much in the background, I think his influence is seen in Quins squad. We have a good squad with what looks like a really good retention strategy under the reduced cap, supplemented with smart short and long term acquisitions

Paul Gustard (DOR) - Gustard was almost the opposite of Kingston. I think he has the potential to be a very good DOR, but took the role on too early in his coaching career. By all accounts, he tried to control too much himself and in doing so led the senior players to shirk responsibility and took a lot of the joy out of the squad.

The Anarchy (no DOR) - When Owen Eastwood (who was subsequently appointed permanently to the board) ran a culture review and recommended that Gustard be let go, Quins decided to take their time recruiting the right person rather than just go for who was available. As a result, Millard stepped in to do some of the DOR duties but left the coaching up to Nick Evans, Jerry Flannery, Adam Jones, Charlie Mulchrone and Jordan Turner-Hall. Meanwhile, the senior players realised that they had to step up. And did. This was possibly the most joyous period in Quins’ history. No-one had any expectation that they could make the playoffs but the wins (often miraculous last minute victories produced from nowhere by Marcus Smith‘s apparent ability to bend space and time to his will) kept coming. No-one (except Joe Marler) had any expectation that they could win an away semi against a dominant Bristol team, especially not at 28-0 down, but space and time were duly bent into one of the best 110 minutes of rugby ever seen. The win against Exeter felt almost inevitable after that. But it wasn’t sustainable - too many people had been stretched too thin to carry on with that.

Tabai Matson (Senior Coach) - Tabs was appointed after a global search specifically for his ability to manage and develop the senior coaches. It’s a little less than a full DOR role, but his job as I understand it is just to focus on getting the best out of the players and coaches. Tabs is a really good fit for the role and sets a great tone (he came down and coached Quins Ams early in his tenure while he was waiting for his family to come over and had time on his hands, which a measure of what he’s added to the culture). He gives some real balance and perspective to the team and while Quins haven’t quite replicated the miracles of 2021, it’s clear that when they have enough of the squad fit the performances are still there.

Interestingly, if I understand it correctly Millard, Matson, and at least some of the other coaches and possibly players are on permanent contracts with Quins rather than the usual 2-3 year fixed term ones. I think the reasoning is that if they commit to the people they have then they can get better commitment in return. Obviously there will be performance elements within those contracts, but its a very different way of running a club and I’m interested to see how it plays out.
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