Shanners to join Blackheath

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Blackheath are pleased to announce the appointment of James Shanahan as the Club’s Head Coach from the start of the next season.

Currently Head Coach with National League One rivals Old Albanian, Shanahan will take up his new post at Well Hall when pre-season training begins ahead of the 2017-18 campaign in early July.

Renowned for his attacking style of play, ‘Shanners’ was an outstanding fly-half with over 500 appearances across 21 seasons with the likes of Exeter, Bedford, Cornish Pirates, and at Cambridge where he began his coaching career.

Continuing as player-coach, he moved on to Old Albanian, guiding them to promotion from National League Two in 2012, before joining then Championship side Plymouth Albion a year later where he officially retired as a player in 2014.

Having rejoined Albanian, he again succeeded in leading them to promotion (still making an occasional playing appearance off the bench), while at the same heading up England Counties for the last two seasons which included the 32-3 victory against France Federale at Rectory Field in March of last year.

Shanahan will continue his England Counties role, alongside that of Head Coach with Blackheath, as well as Cambridge University who he steered to a first Varsity win in seven years when the Light Blues beat Oxford 23-18 at Twickenham in December.

‘I’m delighted to welcome James to Blackheath,’ said Director of Rugby Colin Ridgway.

‘These are exciting times for the Club, given the current crop of players and the recent move to Well Hall with the impressive new facilities being built there.’

‘I will be announcing further coaching appointments in the coming weeks.’

Graham Cox

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