NORTHWICH Rugby Club have appointed Andy Roberts as their new head coach.

Martin Poste remains at the club as director of rugby ahead of the season’s start in the North Premier (National 3) – just four leagues below the Premiership!

Roberts recently left his head coach role at Warrington but has been tempted back to rugby.

He said: “I’ve always had a great relationship with Postie through our many battles between Northwich and Warrington and have the utmost respect for what he and his team have achieved.

“I felt the time was right to come across and support him and the club. That, coupled with the exciting challenge of North Premier rugby and the opportunity to test yourself at the highest level, meant that the opportunity to get back into coaching was a relatively straightforward decision and one that I am really looking forward to.”

He spent 18 months playing National League rugby with Lymm, before being approached by Warrington to take on an initial player/coach role.

Roberts soon took on the head coach position that he held for the next eight years.

During that time they won promotion from the old South Lancs and Cheshire One League to North West One where the club remained for a number of years.

Roberts is now deep into pre-season with Northwich though and said: “I’ve been blown away by the welcome that I have had from the players, coaches and wider people connected to the club.

“I obviously knew Postie very well and many of the players through our battles over the years but it’s been good to get to know them all and see them as my players as opposed to opposition players.”

Senior players will also play a huge role in driving the standards that are expected and supporting the development of the younger players.

There is a sense of everybody involved at Northwich being fully committed to the challenges of North Premier rugby and the action being back after such a long time without it.

Roberts continued: “We’ve had a great start to pre-season and the lads are working hard on all areas of the game.

“We’ve put a big emphasis on core skills and fitness and putting in new attacking structures to allow us to play in a variety of different ways to meet the demands of North Premier rugby.

“Those structures will run throughout the club so that the lads transitioning from 2’s to 1’s have a full understanding of the way we want to play.

“I’ve been really impressed with how the lads have responded to the challenges and demands I have put in front of them and there is a great sense of focus and commitment towards getting the most from each training session.

“As with every amateur club, time with the players is hugely limited but we focus on getting the most out of the time we have available.

“It’s been great to see the lads really trying to impress and it’s given me plenty to think about over the last few weeks about areas where I see our strengths and the areas we still need to improve. It’s exciting and we’re certainly heading in the right direction.”

Northwich are under no illusion that it’s certainly going to be a challenging year while competing at this higher level.

Some big name clubs will be heading to Moss Farm in the new season and there are some great local fixtures to look forward to as well.

Between now and the first league fixture against Preston Grasshoppers Northwich have three pre-season games to help with selection for the season’s opener.

“It’s certainly an exciting time to be involved with the club and now it’s a matter of cracking on with the job in hand and preparing the best sides we can to compete at this level,” said Roberts.

Post remains in charge as director of rugby. He and Dan Townsend will continue to work on all rugby related matters across the club. Roberts will oversee all the on-field coaching with the support of Aaron Collins and Richard Dale.