LONG-serving Doncaster Knights’ forward Glen Kenworthy hung up his boots at the end of the club’s 2011-12 Championship campaign last month but he will not be lost to the Castle Park-based club.
The 38 year-old New Zealand-born second-rower has been appointed the club’s new head coach.
Director of rugby Brett Davey’s decision to make him his No 2 is based on the success Kenworthy made of his role as forwards’ coach in the season just finished - a post he combined with still being a player.
“I played about 17 games last season, which was around the figure we thought that it would be at the start of the season,” said Kenworthy.
“Towards the end of the season Dom Parsons and Matt Challinor were playing so well that I couldn’t pick myself so I sort of eased myself towards my retirement as as player.
“I’ve no regrets; my body and my family were both telling me that it was time to hang up my boots. I’ve had a good career playing in the Premiership with Rotherham on several occasions.
“In any case I’ll still be involved with the players in training so I’ll still be keeping in shape.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’ve got a year to see if I’m any good. It was a good experience being forwards’ coach last season. It was a steep learning curve and I learnt a lot of things that I won’t be doing again next season.
“There was more to the job than I expected and there was a lot of stuff both on and off the field to deal with. It was like a full-time job.
“It was tough for Brett last season with a lot of players doing various coaching and conditioning roles after fitness coordinator Paul Devlin left.
“Dougie Flockhart and Olly Goss split the job between them but with Olly having left since the end of the season Dougie will be doing it by himself next season as well as continuing to play.
“It will be tough on Dougie, particularly during pre-season, but we’ll help him all we can and he’ll be fine. He’s well liked and respected by all the players.”
Kenworthy will have charge of the three weekly training sessions next season when all the squad are together whilst also concentrating on the forwards while Tom Luke and Davey work with the backs.
Having lost 19 players since the end of last season, it has been a busy time for Kenworthy and Davey recruiting not only new players but the sort of players they have identified they need to be successful next season.
“Brett and I both come from the same generation of rugby so we think the same and we’ve both got the same values,” he said. “Cut me in half and I’m Doncaster through and through and Brett is the same.
“The goal last season was to finish in the top eight and do well in the play-offs, which we did but unfortunately we didn’t do as well as we had hoped.
“You could use any number of excuses, but at the end of the day we didn’t compete as well as we had hoped.
“We were in contention in a couple of games at half-time only to fall away in the second half.
“It wasn’t down to a lack of fitness or anything like that it was more a case of a lack of experience in several key positions. That is something we’ve tried to address during our recruitment.”
Kenworthy says there will be a different approach next season.
“In a sense we are going back in time to go forward again,” he said. “The target is a top-four finish.”