Services boss hopes pal can be lucky charm

United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland
United Services. Picture: Keith Woodland
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Ex-All Blacks to compete in maiden Spinnaker 7s tournament

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United Services are banking on the experience of backs coach Keith Molyneux to give them the edge against Kingston in the RFU Junior Vase (2.30pm).

Molyneux, who has a wealth of experience in knockout rugby, was drafted into the coaching team in the summer and has made a big impact.

The 31-year-old played in three Twickenham finals – Junior Vase, Senior Vase and Intermediate Cup – with his previous club Brighton, lifting the silverware each time.

And he would love to add a fourth success with the Hampshire one side.

Services head coach Graham Butterworth has been delighted with his ex-Havant team-mate’s impact.

‘Keith has got a wealth of experience and has brought great energy to our midweek training sessions,’ he said.

‘That has paid off in our league games where we have won six out of six.

‘All the teams in this competition are at the same level as us, so we are optimistic we can do well.

‘Kingston are in Surrey one, so we don’t know anything about them.’

Services’ start to their Hampshire one campaign has been remarkable after a summer upheaval at Burnaby Road.

The future looked bleak at the end of last season with the departure of key personnel, director of Rugby Simon Burns and coach Brian Saunders.

Chairman Paul Nelson appointed former club captain Matt Davis as the new director of rugby.

His target was to steady the ship and develop an environment where commitment and enjoyment were the top priorities.

A new-look coaching team was set up from scratch – including Butterworth, Molyneux, Nigel Jones as squad manager and Gareth Guyll as captain.

From the start Davis was encouraged by the response and support he got.

‘We held a meeting in the summer and it was a relief to see so many faces committed to the success of the club,’ he said.

‘Pre-season training was very well attended and we managed to retain a lot of the players from the previous season.

‘We were also able to make a number of quality additions, too.’

And the hard work is certainly paying off.

Services sit top of Hampshire one, having collected bonus points from every game.

Butterworth is delighted with their progress and is aiming to take his team into London three south west at the end of the season.

He knows there is still a lot to do if he is to achieve that, though.

‘We must not get too carried away,’ said the head coach.

‘Against Fareham Heathens some of the players thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was.

‘They have to realise that other teams now regard us as a scalp to take.

‘We want to play expansive rugby, so they try to get us into a forwards arm wrestle.

‘It is up to us to be clever enough to deal with that.’

United Services (from): Ben Smith, Chris Marriott, Des Voullaire, Gareth Guyll, Grant Anderson, Grant Hill, Guy Snowball, James Davies, Joe Lynch, Josh Coe, Kelvin Roberts, Kieran Jones, Liam Bailes, Logan Munter, Luke Peters, Martin Boshkin, Pedro Pimentel, Perry Squibb, Reggie Arsechin, Sam Portly, Simon Bond, Thomas Blewitt, Will Pickett, Will Rolfe