Top rugby coaches pass on expertise to young talent

Liam Gumbrill and Rob Jones come in as new rugby coaches at Gateshead College as it looks to develop and enhance its highly regarded Rugby Performance Centre.

An accredited RFU coach educator, Liam joins the college’s Academy for Sport at Gateshead International Stadium as rugby union coach.

The 33-year-old has more than 20 years playing experience for teams including Bedford Blues, Blaydon and Glenfield in New Zealand, as well as the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Rob, 35, takes up the position of rugby league coach and brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience in both rugby codes, including coaching the Indian national team, Gateshead Thunder and playing semi-professionally for York Wasps.

Lewis Pendleton, sports academy manager at Gateshead College, said: “We are very excited to welcome two highly skilled and talented rugby coaches to our team at Gateshead College.

“At the Academy for Sport, we ensure that we only employ the best people so that we can give our students the ability to reach their full potential and be successful. 

“Liam and Rob will be supporting our rugby students with regular coaching working alongside our expert strength and conditioning team to develop both ability and skill.”

Liam said: “I’m extremely happy to have joined one of the most successful sports colleges in the UK. Gateshead College has an unrivalled reputation in the region for its sport education and coaching provision and it’s fantastic to now be part of the team.

“Alongside Rob, I’m looking to develop the Rugby Performance Centre and attract students who are playing at all levels of the game.”

Both Liam and Rob move to Gateshead College from East Durham College. They will work with the college’s Rugby Performance Centre students who will be competing in friendly matches as well as seven and ten-a-side tournaments against other North East colleges.

The pair will be looking to develop a competitive rugby league and union squad to challenge in future for the BCS Elite Rugby Union League and Cup, the Daily Mail Cup and the Champions’ College tournament.

They will both continue their community coaching work where Liam works with schools, clubs and local sports organisations in his role as a coach educator for the RFU.

He also coaches various age groups at Durham County RFC along with Newcastle Falcons School’s of Rugby U16s programme and was recently involved in coaching the BCS North of England team.

Rob runs and coaches the Gateshead Storm Community Rugby League Club.

The college’s Rugby Performance Centre is open to any student to join regardless of whether or not they are studying a sport qualification.

Those who want to participate can enrol on the rugby studies programme where alongside classroom study, they will receive high quality coaching, strength and conditioning support, nutritional advice, and access to physiotherapy and sports massage services.

For more information contact Liam Gumbrill at or Rob Jones Tel: 0191490 2447