Carlisle Rugby Club has selected a current Poland international, who has worked in Borders rugby, as their new youth development manager.
Tynedale player Ross Cooke, 28, takes on the newly created role aimed at bringing major benefits to the club and the wider community.
Apart from playing for Tynedale, Cooke also plays on the wing or full-back for the Polish national team and has 10 caps so far. He qualifies through his maternal grandfather.
He started all of their matches in their successful 2021/2022 season when they were promoted to the European Rugby Championship, where they will now play against Georgia, Spain and Portugal.
Due to his connection to Polish rugby, he spent time as a player/coach/video analyst with Sparta Jarocin who are in the Polish Premiership.
Cooke lives in Carlisle, but is originally from Lincoln where he first played rugby.
He went on to study Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucester and served as Chairman of the University of Gloucestershire Men’s Rugby Club. In this role, he was very successful in raising funds for the club.
After graduating, Ross moved to Maidstone in Kent as a rugby coach before heading north to Kelso Rugby Club, where he was assistant development officer.
In 2018, he was appointed development officer at the RFC Gala, where he oversaw the entire junior program from under five to under 18 for both boys and girls.
This involved making long, medium and short term plans and objectives to ensure the growth in numbers and progress in the quality of youth rugby in the city.
To achieve these goals, it has worked closely with the town’s secondary school to deliver rugby PE classes and rugby school sessions, as well as liaising with primary schools in the area. catchment area to provide EP rugby sessions.
This strategy has worked as the number of rugby participants has increased by 35% at the end of two seasons and this is exactly the area and the response that Carlisle is looking for.
Cooke has worked with the Newcastle Rugby Foundation at Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club for the past year, providing training sessions at holiday camps and residential sessions across Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham.
He is also a coach for the Newcastle Falcons Player Development Programme, for high-potential players aged 13-16.
A spokesman for the Carlisle club said: “We are very pleased to have appointed someone of Ross’s experience and ability and look forward to seeing him develop relationships in the education sector in northern Cumbria.
“The aim is to spread the game across the region, with the aim of eventually improving the quantity and skill of youth rugby participants in this region.”