Rob Outen is having to make a decision about his future at Eastbourne Rugby Club after it witnessed a big shake-up thanks to the arrival of new director of rugby, Mal Chumbley.
Chumbley has arrived at Eastbourne with intent but his eagerness to be involved with all the playing and coaching aspects of the club has left Outen, who was due to take over from Roger Stanley as head coach, thinking about his role.
Chumbley said, “Rob is a great addition to the club but I think this year is going to be a bit different to what he was expecting.
“He was expecting to come in as head coach this season but the new structure that we have at the club now has changed things.
“I’ve had some discussions with the board and the coaches. I’ve spoken to Rob about what his role would be and I’ve given him until about June to make a decision about his future involvement with the club.”
Eastbourne has experienced a restructuring of the club following their relegation to Sussex One, which resulted in the arrival of Chumbley as a director of rugby; a role that will go far beyond just working with the first team.
“The initial focus will be on the first team but the aim is to raise performance levels throughout the club, so working with the second, third teams and the coaches too.
“Beyond that I’ll be going into other clubs and working with their coaches. It’s all about long-term sustainability.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of being relegated and expect to immediately bounce back up but I think that does a disservice to the other teams in Sussex One.
“The target is to return to the London leagues because we do have a team here that are punching below their weight.
“They have the potential to reach higher levels and we aim to get them back up there where they belong.”
The level three coach has previously been with Horsham Rugby Club and currently works for the RFU in Sussex, meaning he comes to Eastbourne equipped with a wealth of knowledge about rugby in this area.
“The clubs I’ve worked with before have either been playing at a higher level or required day-to-day involvement so this is a different challenge for me.
“The club clearly suffered a lot last season and an opportunity came up for me to come in and freshen things up.
“I think my day job working with the RFU will bring a lot to this club. It will be a challenge but it’s a challenge that everyone is behind.
“We just want to get the players enjoying their rugby again.”