DEAN AVERY is relishing getting stuck in to coaching at Devon West side Plymouth Argaum.
The former Devon hooker has taken over from Brett Stroud this summer as head coach at Bickleigh Down.
He took his first session on Thursday, along with fellow new coach Jack Hiscock, and he says he is keen to give something back to grassroots rugby in Plymouth, having started his career at Plymouth Civil Service/Plymouth Barbarians.
“I left Plymouth Civil Service when I was about 18 to get involved at a higher standard but it’s nice to come back to a similar club,” said Avery. “Obviously Civil are not there anymore but Argaum are a club with very similar values.”
Avery, who played for Plymouth Albion’s development team before going on to feature for the likes of Newton Abbot and Brixham, said he had not really thought about coaching before the covid pandemic.
“For the last three years I have not really been involved in the game due to covid and everything else,” said Avery.
“Covid was a shock to everyone but it is nice to get back into the game and give something back.”
He added: “I have enjoyed playing and I had not thought about coaching but with the abrupt stop with covid and due to a calf injury I have struggled with for many years now, it just nice to get involved with the game again.”
Avery was playing for Devon before covid and in April turned out for Devonport Services IIIs in the Ellis Trophy final, but he is hoping he will not have to pull his boots on for Argaum.
“Last year I played for Devonport Services thirds and in the odd second team game and I did enjoy it, but the problem I have is that if I train then my calf will go,” he said. “And, if I just chuck myself out there on a Saturday and just play without training then I am doing no favours to anyone, so the plan is not to play.
“Hopefully we will have a good mentality of players who want to play and train and then it would be wrong if I put myself in.”
Avery feels Stroud has left Argaum is good shape after rebuilding the Roborough-based club after a few turbulent years.
“This club’s got some big aspirations,” said Avery. “And I think Brett has left a very good foundation.
“Not many people have left and so I think the building blocks are there for the club.
“I want to build a culture where referees come up here on a winter’s day and they know they are not going to get shouted at. And I also think important people here enjoy their rugby.”
Argaum will play in the new-look Counties Three Devon West league, which is the same level as Devon One, but some second teams have come in and the league has been regionalised more, with all-but one team in or around south or west Devon.
“I am looking forward to it and going back to places like Newton Abbot and Teignmouth and around Plymouth,” said Avery.
The Devon Junior Cup draw took place this week and Argaum will face two games against Salcombe and other group matches against Old Techs and Plymouth Fijians.
Techs were drawn against Tamar Saracens in their opening match, before playing Argaum, then Ilfracombe and Sarries again.
As well as two games against Techs, Tamar Saracens will also play Plymouth Fijians and Salcombe.