Ben Scully spent three weeks thinking over Colchester offer before confirming decision to Sudbury Rugby Club officials
Ben Scully has said it was not an easy decision to leave Sudbury for their London 1 North derby rivals Colchester, writes Ken Watkins.
The Free Press broke the news online on Wednesday that Scully has resigned as head coach at Sudbury Rugby Club to take up the reins at their nearest rivals, Colchester.
Scully’s three years at Sudbury ended with the club avoiding relegation in their penultimate match following promotion via the play-offs in 2017/18. Colchester, who finished runners-up in the division, lost out to Brighton Blues in the promotion play-off.
“I spent three weeks thinking it over,” said Scully, who was approached by Colchester’s director of rugby Anthony O’Riordan, who he is set to have increased involvement with at St Joseph’s College as head of rugby skills development. He had previously been involved with the school’s rugby chief O’Riordan through his coaching programme.
“It was hard to say goodbye to Sudbury, a club that has helped me to become the coach I am. And it was hard to walk away from the players and all the good people there.
“Colchester are looking for promotion to higher leagues, and moving to a new ground in 2020. So it’s exciting times, a step up in challenges, the next progression in my career, and too good to turn down.”
Sudbury chairman Lloyd Felton said: “While his move to a local rival is bound to raise eyebrows it must be remembered he already works closely with Anthony O’Riordan...it’s a natural transition for Ben and an understandable career move, and we wish him every success.”
He confirmed Sudbury will not be looking for a replacement for Scully with the four-strong team of Neil Dachtler, Dick Sumner, Tiger Minter and Simon Dain having already agreed to take them forward.
Coaching will be led by Dachtler, part of Scully’s management team, and Sumner, who worked with previous head coach Graham Richards.
Dain, also a member of Scully’s team last season, will be team manager, with Minter, who has also worked with Richards, as tactician.
“We feel well placed for next season and ready to carry the momentum of success and learning forward from last season,” said Felton.
“We have immense faith in the strength, depth and ability of both our coaches and our incredibly young and talented players.”
Scully, 30, was appointed by Sudbury in May 2016.
His first season, in London 1 North, hit by a five-point penalty for fielding an ineligible player on opening day, ended in relegation.
Prior to joining the Blues Scully spent time in the England coaching set up, resulting in visits to Whittome Field by head coach Eddie Jones and then defence coach Paul Gustard in 2017. He has also coached Norway for two years.