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News Archive > Sport > Rugby legend Matt hopes to inspire the next generation

Rugby legend Matt hopes to inspire the next generation

By Gareth Davies 10th March 2021

Rugby legend Matt hopes to inspire the next generation
St Austell and Cornwall rugby legend Matt Shepherd has started his own coaching school which will be based at Saints’ Tregorrick Park base

St Austell legend Matt Shepherd says it’s time to give something back to the rugby community by launching his own coaching school.

Kernow Rugby Coaching is the brainchild of Shepherd, now 31, who since breaking through into Saints’ first team as a raw scrum-half a decade ago, has gone onto play in the pro ranks for Plymouth Albion and represented England Counties too.

Shepherd has also become a mainstay of the Cornwall county side and his nerveless injury-time conversion led the Duchy to a 15-12 triumph over Cheshire in the Bill Beaumont Cup final at Twickenham in 2019.

Shortly after Shepherd’s heroics in the famous black and gold jersey of Cornwall, he moved from Albion to Redruth and was a stand-out performer for Nigel Hambly’s side as they battled for promotion into National League One. After the 2019-20 season was decided on a points-per-game formula, Redruth missed out on promotion and Shepherd moved back to Brickfields.

Sadly, he is yet to play a competitive game for the Devonians this season due to the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown was the perfect opportunity for Shepherd to fulfil the dream of running his own coaching school.

“I can offer one-to-one sessions, group skills sessions, camps, kicking clinics along with strength and conditioning,” he exclusively told the Voice.

“I want to drum up a little bit more of a following for myself because I have coached in schools, but I want to put my knowledge to good use and give back to the community.

“That was the first thing I wanted to do after building my own business - to give something to communities around the local to the area.

“Around the age of 14 and 15 I got a little lost. I had the support of parents and good coaches, but if I knew then what I know now and had the kind of coaching I want to give out, then it would have benefited a lot more.

“I think I have a lot to give in terms of little bits and pieces that might make someone catch the ball a little bit better or make a transition run a little bit smoother. For me, if I could have had someone coach me when I was a teenager, my journey could have been different but that said, I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done.”

Shepherd, who spoke passionately about his future plans added that his coaching school will also use his own personal experiences, to what he describes as an uneasy introduction to rugby, citing constant comments about his diminutive statue, as a reason to try and help others.

“My journey wasn’t the easiest to begin with as I didn’t play county rugby until I was 16 and having a lot of setbacks, being too small, being X, Y or Z,” he said. “That is why I want to give my knowledge over because you don’t have to be massive to be a good player.

“You can have little bits and pieces that you can put into guys to make them outstanding. I have messages from people who say they want to get physically better because they think they won’t make it. I tell them that they don’t really need to get bigger, you just need to home in on those specific skills as a kicker, or as a scrum-half that needs to improve your passing or to evade people.

“It’s just knowing, from being in this environment all the time, what needs to be put across to the participants. This will be easier than a generic one size-fits-all policy be it in a one-to-one session, a group session or a rugby camp. My sessions will benefit the whole spectrum because it will be specific to the individual.

Kernow Rugby Coaching is based at Tregorrick Park, home of St Austell RFC. For more information, any prospective participant, irrespective of age, gender or ability can contact Matt: kernowrugbycoaching@gmail.com

You can also find more information on Instagram and Facebook by searching for Kernow Rugby Coaching.

By Gareth Davies 10th March 2021

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