Former Scotland & Northampton captain Budge Pountney has joined the Ards Rugby and Regent House coaching team as a Rugby Development Officer.
Budge played at the highest level in the 1999 World Cup for Scotland, won the 2000 European Cup with Northampton then upon retirement in 2004 became Head Coach at Northampton and in 2005 Director of Rugby.
Budge then stepped down in his role within the professional game to focus on a joint business interest with his wife Ali. In recent years Budge has been Head of Rugby at Marlborough College, Wiltshire.
Budge was in Ards this week meeting officials, coaches and players from both Ards Rugby and Regent House.
Budge commented, "I am delighted to be joining the team at Ards and Regent House, my wife Ali is also delighted to be returning home to Northern Ireland. From what I've seen today there's huge potential in these young players from both Ards and Regent House, I can't wait to get involved in their rugby development at Hamilton Park, at Regent House and in the school's in the area as part of my outreach work."
Regent House Headmaster Michael Carville, Ards Rugby's immediate past President Colin McLean and Ards Rugby's Director of Rugby Stevie Nutt were amongst those who welcomed Budge.
"The mood at Ards Rugby Club is one of fervent anticipation at the prospect of benefiting from Budge's expertise in the coming years. We are delighted that Budge will focus primarily on the development of the game at youth level. Budge's work with Regent House will dovetail effectively with our strategies to develop youth and mini rugby at Hamilton Park and we are excited at the potential to further complement that work by reaching out to other schools and young sportspeople throughout the entire Ards district. The profile of rugby union has never been higher, and only a few days after Ireland submitted their bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, we are delighted as a local rugby club to announce an association with a player who has played in the World Cup and led his country with great distinction. Budge’s experiences as a player laid the foundations for a successful career in coaching and management of the game at the top level so it is fitting that at Ards Rugby Club we are planning to build solid foundations for the future of the local game by focusing our resources on development. This is a long term commitment to excellence in the local area, to provide our young sportspeople with the opportunity for world class training and advice as they take part in the great game of rugby union. This is only possible thanks to the generosity of many local benefactors and businesses who alongside our friends at Regent House School share our exciting vision for the future."
Ards Director of Rugby commented:
" This is a really positive move by Ards Rugby and Regent House, working in partnership to develop rugby in the Ards area. At Ards we have three senior teams, three Youth teams and a thriving mini section from P1-P7, Budge has the background and experience to influence them all. Hopefully he will help us grow our own Ulster, Ireland or Lions stars of the future!"
Regent House Headmaster Michael Carville commented:
"We are delighted to welcome Budge Pountney to our staff, as Rugby Development Officer, in Regent House. His arrival compliments everything that we are trying to achieve for our pupils. We aspire to excellence in everything we do and want to ensure our pupils have world class opportunities both inside the classroom and in their extracurricular life. Recent examples of this include being nominated by the Sunday Times in the Top 15 NI Schools, becoming Radio Ulster Schools’ Choir of the Year 2017, winning the NICMAC Ulster Schools Dance Champions, winning the NI regional heat of the European Youth Parliament and our girls swim team winning the Irish Schools’ Championship for the second year in a row. Rugby is a very important sport in Regent House and the Ards area in general. We are delighted to enhance our already excellent links with Ards Rugby Club and look forward to Budge leading both school and club to increased success over the next few years. Budge is amongst the very best Rugby coaches in the UK and I am delighted he will working with local children in our partner Primary Schools, Ards Rugby Club and Regent House."
In recent times Ards Rugby and Regent House have been working hard to re-establish the strong connection between both club and school with Ards Rugby's Neil Workman, Colin McLean, Stephen Nutt, Stephen Bell, Regent House Headmaster Michael Carville, Regent House governors Paul Thompson and Richard Poulter to the fore.
Further links with the club and school include current Ards 1st XV coach John West coaches the Regent Medallion squad, current Regent 1st XV coach Mervyn Tweed is the former Head Coach at Ards, school teacher & Year 10 coach Davy Thompson is former Ards 1st XV play and currently plays for Ards Rugby's Black Knights, current Ards rugby players David Armstrong, Matt Busby and former Ards players Eric Sinnamon and Palmer Eccles are part of the school coaching team. The current Head of the Regent House Board of Governors Robin Johnston is a past player, committee member and manager at Ards Rugby, fellow Board of Governor members Paul Thompson is a past player and coaches Mini Rugby at Ards and Richard Poulter is one of Ards Rugby's main sponsors.
The aim of Ards Rugby is to invest now for the future, to re-establish Ards and Regent Rugby as dominant within Ulster Rugby, to develop the quality of young rugby player in the area which will not only benefit Ards and Regent rugby but through the outreach work other local clubs may well benefit.
Ards Rugby's Neil Workman (also a former Head Boy and Captain of Regent House 1st XV) and will be co-ordinating a number of fundraising initiatives and sponsorship opportunities to support this significant investment in the future of rugby at Ards, Regent House and the local area.
For further details contact:
Neil Workman - 07767846282
Michael Carville - 02891813234 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 18:00 - 6 Jun 2017 by STEPHEN NUTT