Coaching Reports


From the Archives

Coach’s Corner with Head Coach Johnny Breedt

June 2013

Last season was disappointing for only one reason, we did not get promoted! The Seniors worked hard, but it was not enough.

What have I learned, as Head Coach?
It all starts with building a strong squad. Developing the fringe players early on in the season, so they can play for the first team sooner. Creating some healthy competition between first team players and the Magpies for positions. I would like to place more emphasis on developing all players skills by challenging them more during training sessions. It is my duty to the players to ensure that they are prepared to the best of their ability for each game.

Last season has emphasised the value of our youth section. We had many colts step into senior rugby with ease. They all played a huge part in our success. I am very fortunate that a few of them have decided to put University on hold for a year and play one more year for us! We currently have a very talented u/18 side. I will ensure I work closely with their coaches, David Dodds, Chris Blom ( 1st XV Captain) and Sheldon Reynecke ( 1st XV Prop).

The younger age groups also deserve the attention from the seniors. I would like to make as many of us seniors available to the youth, for some coaching sessions. I urge all of the Youth coaches to contact me should they feel the need for some different voices and ideas.

This year I am going to challenge the players to raise at least £3000 for the club, through organising events and functions. This will strengthen their loyalty to the club and help in promoting the idea of ONE CLUB! Player match day subs will also be reintroduced this year, this will bring in some much needed funds for the club.,

The player sponsor scheme worked extremely well last year and I would like to continue it this year. If you or your company would like to sponsor a player please contact me for details.

Finally, as this will be my last year as head coach at the club, I have set myself some goals. Seeing a regular third team side playing for the club. The Magpies topping their league and our 1st XV playing the best rugby the club have seen in many years. I want to help our youth section as much as possible and help create a great atmosphere within the club!



December 2012 Report by Club Captain Chris Blom


With our Head Coach, Johnny Breedt away in South Africa on a special visit to spend time with his father and other loved ones over Christmas, it gives me great pleasure to write the latest round up on his behalf.

We made the long journey up the A140 to North Walsham on 17th November for what was to be a very close game, with our boys losing marginally 30-21. This was a match which saw us 25-0 down with 20 minutes to go, but we showed courage and character pulling the game closer. We only just missed out on a losing bonus point with the last kick of the afternoon, 5 more minutes and the outcome may have been very different. Special mention must go to the supporters who came on the coach and who travelled by car, your support helped us get so much closer than North Walsham would have liked. On their return visit to Ipswich, we have a lot of pride to play for and hopefully we can get a big W. They are not unbeatable and we are looking forward to welcoming them to the Snake Pit in 2013.

The following weekend saw us host a wet and windy game against Woodford, where after a dubious decision from the referee and Woodford running in a late try, we lost the game by 1 point, but we cannot blame the ref completely and this game made us take a good look at ourselves. Enough said about that game the better, it was time to re-group and work on our weaknesses and get the focus back on mission promotion.

The start of December saw Ipswich with an off weekend and many club members, players, friends and family (!) headed off to Twickenham to watch England get thrashed by the All Blacks, except that didn’t really happen, and I was lucky enough to also be there, what a performance from England!! And Yes, I do occasionally support England, especially when it helps the Springboks World Rankings in doing so!

The 8th December saw us shimmy up the A14 to Stowmarket, where we won convincingly 14-38… This was a massive local derby with a lot to play for and a chance to show the newcomers that this is not a “walk in the park” league. One of our best games so far this season as we played as a unit, played with confidence and really gelled as a team.

Our final game before Christmas was at home to Lowestoft and Yarmouth and with Johnny away in South Africa we had an extra incentive to play for, although Ipswich had a rocky start, we then found our feet and realised what we were there to do… job done, 5 points in the bag, winning the game 48-24.

We start 2013 with 2 away games; 5th January we travel to Old Streetonians who currently lie second from bottom in the league….losing 9 out of 11 games…. We must never make assumptions though, or think that it will be an easy game. On 12th January, we visit our friends at Holt (a convoy of cars and bus loads of supporters will be much appreciated!!) – Holt have had an average season so far, winning 6 out of 10 games but they will always be a difficult side to play away.

I want to say a special thank you to Johnny, Craig and Brad for all of their commitment, dedication & hard work this season and a big thank you to Andy Woodley for stepping up and taking over the coaching of the Magpies and have no doubt that his input will help them continue to blast their way through the league, I believe Andy is a very valuable asset to IRFC as he develops players for the 1st team and keeps all players on their toes. Also thanks to Clive Bell for his technical and tactical input with the 1st and 2nd team and also his willingness to help out whenever needed. One of our big strengths this season has been our fitness so special mention to Ben Gray – I bet he’s looking forward to working on our Christmas Over-eating! (on this note, I have put my mince pie down.) Final thank you goes to 1st team manager Paul Tildsley for all of his hard work behind the scenes getting us ready for each match, the jelly tots help start the cobra magic in the snake pit!

To All of the Ipswich playing members, thank you all for working so hard for your jersey, this is what has made us promotion material and what makes me proud to be captain.

Apologies to those not mentioned, you know who you are. Without you, we would not be where we are today, you are the unsung heroes of the club, Thank you.

Thank you for your support so far this season, I can’t wait for the 2nd half to begin, I strongly believe promotion could be ours….I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, may 2013 bring us love, happiness, money and promotion to London 1.

Geseende Kersfees!

Chris Blom

October 2012 Report by Head Coach Johnny Breedt


During October the First XV played four games, Enfield, Chelmsford, Saffron Walden and Stevenage. With an excellent start to the season with three out of three wins we were determined to continue with this winning streak.

Unfortunately we had a setback with our first away game, to Enfield. As suspected our excellent start to the season ensured that Enfield targeted us as a “trophy side.” We allowed them to control the game early on and this allowed them to take the lead. Their confidence grew where ours lacked and they deservedly won the game 26 – 13.

Our next game was Chelmsford at home, always a tough fixture. We managed to shake off the shock of the previous week and started this game with more urgency. By half time we were in the lead and stepped up the intensity to finish, 32 -10, as winners.  This victory resulted in the team believing in themselves again.
We were under no illusions that our next game to Saffron Walden away, was a must win game. We did not want to be labelled as a team that only wins at home. With a depleted side due to injuries and work commitments we managed to record a win. Although the score line of 19 – 13 does not suggest it, it was an impressive win. Beating a strong Saffron Walden side with guys playing out of position and not all the players available shows the depth in our side this season.

Our last game of this month was against a struggling Stevenage side. For us it was not just about beating them, but by how much. We targeted this game as a means to improve our points difference in the league. We have also created a culture of ruthlessness and not showing our opposition any respect on the field. If we played a stronger side we might have been in trouble as our discipline let us down, and we received four yellow cards in total. I put this down as over eagerness, as speaking to the referee afterwards he said we gave too many penalties away near our own try line. We did manage to win this game 83 – 15, even though we played half the game with one less player. A special mention must go to 17 year old, Will Davies, who made his starting debut for the side. He not only showed he is comfortable playing senior rugby, but he has now become a serious contender for the  no.11 shirt. He managed to convert 7 out of his 10 attempts at goal, plus he was a real threat in attack.

We have two games remaining this month, league leaders North Walsham away and Woodford at home. Both these teams will be tough to beat. Walsham has come down from the league above this year. It was not that long ago when they competed in the National leagues. Last season we did not manage to beat Woodford in two games, so we know they will be tough.

There is a positive attitude amongst the players. Our Magpies have now got their own full time coach in Andy Woodley. This group of players will be vital to the success of the First XV’s this season. With new players joining on a weekly basis the amount of players that can play first team rugby has grown rapidly. We also have some of our Colts players, starting to compete for positions in the side. So these players, who are not used for the firsts on a given Saturday, will be eligible to play for our Magpies.

The club goes from strength to strength this season; the constant influx of new players from other clubs is a testament to this. Going by the great success of the club’s fireworks evening, also shows that our Junior section has a very positive attitude. Seeing so many youngsters and parents on the night made me very proud to be a part of the club. A special thanks must go to Alison Young for organising the event and Paul Tildsley for buying the impressive fireworks that was on display.


Johnny Breedt

September 2012 Report by Head Coach Johnny Breedt


We set ourselves a goal of winning the first three games of the season. The seniors could not have asked for a better start to the season. Three games with three bonus point wins. The hard pre season work put in by the players seemed to have paid off. We have now ensured that we are the team to beat in this league, this season. Other clubs will now want our “scalp.” We see this as a challenge and it will motivate us to perform at our best every game.

Our first game was against Braintree, who came down from the league above. It was a nervous start to the season and it showed on the pitch. Although we beat them 32 – 3, the players knew that they did not play to their full potential. Poor ball handling and being weak at the contact area stopped us from playing the high quality rugby I know we can.

Our second game was against old rivals Old Streetonians.  Last season we beat them   29 – 14 at home, and lost 21 – 17 away to them. We produced a better performance to beat them 39 – 0 this time round. The impressive thing about this game was that we managed to keep a clean sheet. Our last match in September was against a twice promoted Holt side that has gone through two seasons unbeaten. We knew that they would be a tough side with lots to prove. They showed up with a coach load of supporters and a second coach with players, very impressive indeed. We welcomed them to our league buy beating them 52 – 18. They were the first team to score a try against us. The players had a good game against them and showed some glimpses of what they can do if they play as a unit.

So at the moment we are top of the league with 15 points, but I am aware that things will get tougher throughout the season. We have some tough games coming up this month, Enfield (A), Chelmsford (H) and Saffron Waldon(A). If we can win two out of three games I will be pleased. We have managed to build a strong squad for this season, so I will have the luxury of rotating players in certain positions. What is more impressive is that we recruited only local talent. All the players live and work in the area. Even our foreign players have been in the country for a number of years, some of which have wives and children. The youngsters who have come through the clubs age groups and been playing for the seconds for the last few years have stepped up this season. Players like Jake Goodwin, Sam Goodwin and Mikey Graham have shown that hard work and dedication will reap rewards. They are an integral part of our first team squad this season.

Some of our junior colts have also shown in the pre-season friendlies that somewhere down the line the junior coaches are doing a great job. Not only did the boys manage to hold their own, they also managed to play with a lot of skill and confidence.

There is a good “Buzz” at the club at the moment. The clubhouse has had a “face lift,” due to the hard work of a lot of volunteers. A special thanks must go to Nathan Ball and Robert Kersey who has put in countless hours of their own time.

The amount of spectators who show up on a Saturday is phenomenal. At our first home game we had around seventy people sitting down for the pre match meal, and at our last home game there was close to one hundred people sitting down for the pre match meal. With many more spectators turning up, just to watch the games.

A brilliant addition to these Saturday fixtures is seeing the little “Rug Rats” entertaining the crowd with their own little run about before the game. Then waiting outside the changing room just before kick-off, so they can grab the hand of a senior player to show him where the pitch is. The seniors thoroughly enjoy this and I am sure, this is why they give a little bit extra every match. I predict that many clubs will copy this tradition. Long may this continue.

Our junior section has also started the season on a positive note. The players, coaches and parents have been brilliant at keeping the youth section positive, healthy and successful. I believe that OUR club will show other clubs that we are the best place for a positive and enjoyable experience. Our kids will get the best coaching and support around. With only positive people about, OUR club will thrive and provide a great experience to our youngsters. I want to urge people to communicate with myself and the committee if there is anything they feel can be done differently. This is the only way the club can go forward and become even more successful.


Johnny Breedt


August 2012 Report by Head Coach Johnny Breedt


I am honoured and pleased to be part of the club as head coach once again this season. We have had a much better start to this season than last season. We have been training since the start of July and the players are working really hard this pre season. They are pushing each other really hard and they are not accepting anything less than 100% from themselves and each other. They share my vision of promotion this year. We are continuing the trend of where we finished last year, of only using and recruiting local players.

The coaching structure has changed somewhat this season, with myself as head coach, Craig Burrows backs coach, Brad James forwards coach and Clive Bell fitness coach. We are fortunate to retain Ben Gray as our strength and conditioning coach for the season. Paul Tildsley will be our team manager ensuring everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. Karl King will keep us all on track as Director of Rugby. His support and input was invaluable last season and I am pleased he has decided to continue as DoR this season.

As already mentioned it is our aim to get promoted this season, I believe that this is a reality. All the players and the committee share this vision. We have managed to retain lasts season’s successful team and also recruited some fresh faces this season that will bring some extra experience and firepower to the squad. With some very talented youngsters that are now eligible to play senior rugby, team selection will be a headache this season. The future of senior rugby at Ipswich looks healthy. We have also entered in the Suffolk Cup for the first time in many seasons, with our first match at home against Bury who is playing in the league above us and will be aiming for promotion into National Three League this season.

A new player’s sponsor scheme has been set up. This gives businesses the opportunity to sponsor individual players for the season. A sponsor’s board will be put up inside the club house with a picture of each player and a logo of the business next to it. A profile of each player and his sponsor will also appear on our new and modern website which will be launched soon. If there is any one out there interested in sponsoring a player, it does not have to be a business, and would like more information; please feel free to contact me.

On the junior front things are also looking very positive. With rugby camps taking place and a big summer rugby camp coming up. The new look junior committee led by Alan Dyer are full of ideas and have a clear strategy for the upcoming season. More focus will be put on creating a family atmosphere and involving parents and coaches in the decisions of the running of the club.

I am really positive about the future of the club. It is refreshing working with people who want to see the club achieve and go forward.

Johnny Breedt