FORMER Plymouth Albion player Andy Williams is looking forward to getting back into the Devon rugby scene with OPMs.
Williams has become their new head coach, taking over from his former teaching colleague Rick Orkney, who stepped down at the end of the season.
The Welshman only returned to the UK last year after working overseas for nearly 12 years.
“I finished at Albion in May 2010 and then moved overseas in August 2010,” said Williams, who was a teacher at Devonport High School for Boys and then St Boniface College.
“I got a job and went to the Middle East. I went to Qatar first, then went to the UAE and then Tunisia.
“I was still playing rugby over in the UAE in their Premiership, which includes the Dubai teams and Abu Dhabi teams. (Former Albion and Exeter player) Ed Lewesy was out there and we used to play against each other four times a year.
“I was also coaching out there. It was a pretty good standard of rugby.
“We came back to the UK last year and I was oohing and aahing with my wife and she was the one telling me I had to get back into rugby.”
Williams, who did have a coaching role at Albion before going overseas, added: “I have known about OPMs since moving to Plymouth in 1997 when I started playing for Albion.
“My nephew (Joe Russell) has played on and off for OPMs for about five or six years.
“There is also the association with Howell (Phillips), bless him, who coached down there, and Howard (Turner), both who I worked with for five-plus years.
“I also know Rick who coached them last season. I worked with Rick also for years and played rugby with him.
“I know they were up in Western Counties for a while.
“What I am hopefully going to try and do with the team we have already got is to just bring some ideas in, try to get some guest coaches down to give them a different perspective, and try and get them back up a few levels over the next three to five years.
“I am certainly up for the challenge.
“I think I have a lot to offer rugby, which has given me a huge amount.
Williams, who did watch OPMs play towards the end of last season, continued: “I just want to get the boys playing and enjoying their rugby, but they do need to be fit. I have said it to the players already, that we need to be a lot physically fitter.”
Williams is hoping many of OPMs key players from last season with stay at the club and that they can persuade new and former players to join.
“I can only play with the cards I have been dealt but I am hoping that if we get a couple of early wins then people will talk and want to come back to the club,” he said.
“There is really good vibe at the club and I’m looking forward to it.”