Ryan Burrows has played at the top level of the sport in this country and is now hoping to pass on some of his experience as coach of Barnsley RUFC who begin their new season tomorrow.

The 31-year-old is from Bolton-upon-Dearne and began playing rugby at Wath RUFC before embarking on a professional career which has seen him play in the Premiership and Champions Cup for Newcastle Falcons as well as stints with Championship clubs Yorkshire Carnegie and Rotherham Titans.

He left Newcastle earlier this year for second tier Coventry and will combine his playing duties for them with his coaching role at Shaw Lane where his uncle Mark Smith is director of rugby.  Burrows told the Chronicle: “I am definitely looking forward to it.  I know the club well through my uncle so I have followed their fortunes. 

“We have had a few conversations over the years about me going there to coach but it has never come to fruition until this summer with me moving back to the area and commuting to Coventry.  Coaching has always been something I have wanted to get into.  I have done bits and pieces with youth players at the clubs I have played for but this will be something different and a really good experience. 

“I would like to think my experience will help the lads. I have worked with lots of good coaches and learned a lot from them. I have implemented a few more professional training techniques at Barnsley and worked a lot with the players to improve them. 

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“The problems I’ve found are that, at an amateur club, I can’t make the same demands on players for training and matches as in professional rugby because the lads at Barnsley might have family or work commitments. It’s a completely different level. We only have two and a half hours a week to work with these guys so we’re not reinventing the wheel but we’re trying to make the small but important changes.”

Burrows is joint head coach with Stephen Roberts, who will lead the team on matchdays as Burrows will be playing for Coventry.  The Shaw Laners finished second bottom in Yorkshire Division Two last season but were spared relegation by a restructuring of the leagues. 

Burrows said: “Watching on from the outside last season, they parted company with the coach halfway through and then had three or four people coaching the team for the second half of the season.

“Is the finishing position a reflection of the quality of the players or what was going on around them? We will see during the season. 

“But I have told them all to forget what happened last season and my style is to enjoy playing rugby and put smiles on people’s faces.  I’m not going to say we can compete for promotion, after we came second-bottom last season, but there is a lot of talent at the club so hopefully we can steadily climb the table and easily improve on last season.”

Barnsley are due to begin their season at home to Northallerton tomorrow while Wath start at Wetherby.  Barnsley RUFC Ladies are due to visit Novocastrians on Sunday in their first game of the Women’s Championship North One season.