Jersey RFC have confirmed that Alex Rae has been appointed as the club's new Forwards Coach.
After three years playing for and captaining the Jersey team since signing for the Reds in summer 2013, 30-year-old Rae will make the switch from playing to coaching after Jersey's final league match of 2015/16 this weekend, when Yorkshire Carnegie visit St Peter.
Alex Rae (pictured by Jacquie Ranieri)
Jersey Chairman Bill Dempsey said that Rae had been the outstanding candidate once the departure of current Forwards Coach Steve Boden was confirmed.
"We have had a very high calibre of applicant, and gave serious consideration to a number of those who stepped forward," he said. "Ultimately we saw someone in Alex whose attitude and commitment are outstanding and will help drive the club forward in our fifth Championship season and beyond."
Head Coach Harvey Biljon backed up the Chairman's views.
"Alex's leadership skills have been a great asset to the club over the past three seasons, and will leave him well-placed to make the transition to coaching," he said. "He's spent seven years in the Championship and knows the division inside out, and I know he'll be working really hard from the word go."
Speaking about his new role, Rae, who has coached Jersey's Under 15s and Colts squads over the past two seasons, said he was delighted to be the successful applicant.
"I'm really chuffed and honoured to have been given this role," he said. "I've had ambitions to eventually coach when my playing days were over, and although the chance has come sooner than expected, it's a fantastic opportunity for me.
"I've got big shoes to fill in succeeding Steve Boden - he's taught me a lot and leaves the club in a good place, although there'll be pressure to maintain and improve the club's status after the last two seasons.
"Harvey and I have worked really well together - I know what he's about and his ambitions and I think we'll make a good team."
Rae admitted that the thought of stopping playing hadn't fully sunk in, but said he hadn't considered a player-coach role.
"I don't think it's something that you can combine at this level, so once this season is done I'll be hanging up the playing boots."
Before that, and after around 240 senior games for Jersey, Bedford Blues and Northampton Saints, Rae will lead Jersey out for the last time at St Peter on Saturday alongside his son Ellis; the six-year-old will be the Reds' mascot for the day, and his Dad will make his final appearance - "if selected" - in the annual Siam Cup contest against Guernsey on May 7th.
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