As part of Rugby Europe’s commitment to the development of the game in the continent, in July 2022 Charlie Brown was appointed as Regional Manager for Rugby Europe to ensure that unions are appropriately supported for their training and education needs.
We caught up with Charlie after three months in post to find out about his experiences so far and his plans going forward in the Training and Education Department.
What are your early observations around the state of play in Europe in the Training and Education space?
CB: It’s been a really exciting time for me personally and professionally, to join the organisation in what has been a difficult few years during the pandemic.
What was evident straight away was the diversity in the various levels of the unions in the region and the various challenges that they face.
While the unions have very individualised needs, what is pleasing for me to see coming into the job is that all the union training managers I’ve met so far are all energetic and passionate people, and very keen to work with Rugby Europe for the betterment of the sport.
In relation to that engagement how have you managed to interact with the unions so far?
First of all, there were plenty of introductory calls with reps from each union, which helped me in understanding more about both their individual roles and to identify those collective needs. I’ve now got a much better idea of how we can support them and from then we’ve been able to do a European-wide engagement in launching our Training and Education Strategic plan for 2022-23.
Within this plan, can you share some of the key highlights?
Our ultimate goal is to support the various unions across Europe to have the tools to support their T&E communities at an appropriate level. This can be done through ensuring that they have a trained and licenced workforces to deliver World Rugby Courses, but also making sure that they are supported in maintaining a high-level of quality in their delivery.
As you’ve mentioned, with so many countries (47 in total) how do you see that being delivered?
We need everyone to play a part in supporting rugby, not just in their own countries, but across Europe.
So as our first point, we have categorised unions that have similar needs, be it at a performance, development or growth level. Take for example that we’ve had a meeting with England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales and have agreed to build a support framework targeted to those Unions competing in the Rugby Europe Championship and Trophy as part of the ‘Cascade’ component of the Strategic plan.
The expectation from this is that the countries who receive this support will replicate that by performing a similar role for other developing nations in the level below.
Q What collaboration will World Rugby have in enhancing the game in Europe.
My role is part funded by World Rugby who work in partnership with Rugby Europe, they also support from an operational budget side of things, as well as provide a medical education budget for the region, so there is a close collaboration there.
Player Welfare remains World Rugby’s top priority. They are fully supportive of what Rugby Europe is doing to enhance this with the Unions, and are providing additional resources to ensure the success of the Training and Education Strategic Plan. In doing so, they have appointed a regional Medical Education Manager, and have also recently launched player welfare programs such as Activate and Tackle Ready. There are many more initiatives coming, which we are excitedly looking forward to.