Katie's the Jewell in Cosmos crown
PUBLISHED: 14:09 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:21 24 August 2010
EXCITING times lie ahead for Kilburn Cosmos, as they search for promotion under their first ever female coach. One thing Katie Jewell doesn t lack is rugby experience. Now in her third season with the Cosmos...
Rugby by Ian Cooper
EXCITING times lie ahead for Kilburn Cosmos, as they search for promotion under their first ever female coach.
One thing Katie Jewell doesn't lack is rugby experience. Now in her third season with the Cosmos, having joined from Saracens as a front row player, this is her first season as coach. It's a role she embraces.
"I got into the game when I was 12 or 13," said Jewell, from Wimbledon. "Until then it was football I loved, but my brother introduced me to rugby, and I started out playing sevens rugby when I was 18, and then at University College London playing fifteens.
"I always inadvertently seemed to end up coaching people. While I was at Saracens I coached the youth academy, and then the Cosmos women's team. It really seemed to be a natural progression."
Despite a tricky start to the new season for the Herts/Middlesex Division One team, which has yielded two good performances but narrow defeats to West London and Verulamians, the club have a clear vision of future success, beginning this season.
With this drive for success, Jewell's expertise will be vital, a fact not lost on club chairman Phil Morgan, who is quick to label her the best coach the Cosmos have had.
"She has brought a new approach to our rugby," he said. "She has come from a level we aspire to, bringing dedication, experience and a depth of knowledge."
In the face of such high praise, Jewell prefers to focus on tactics and team play, emphasising the importance of each player knowing their own role.
"The aim really is to get them coaching themselves as much as possible, to understand the principles of the game, and work on the intricacies," she said.
"It's certainly time intensive. A 90 minute training session generally takes twice that length to prepare. Every minute of the session needs to be planned if the players are to benefit fully."
The optimism surrounding the club is obvious and contagious. Mixing experience with youth, and under the guidance of the meticulous Jewell, the Cosmos are also set to gain a newly re-developed training pitch in Gladstone Park next spring.
"It will definitely be a bonus to move to Gladstone Park, and to be able to train on a proper pitch," says Jewell. "We'll have better facilities, so from a training point of view it will be so much easier."
She also underlines the importance of attracting newcomers of all ages into rugby, and fully supports the recent 'Go Play Rugby' campaign, aimed at attracting 18-35 year-olds who might otherwise have given up the sport.
"Anything that raises the profile of the game, and of sport in general, can only be a good thing. Rugby has so much to offer, it teaches you to work as a team, and to rely on others.
"There are loads of clubs out there who welcome people with open arms, the best thing to do is go along to your local club, and often you can just turn up and play.
"The Cosmos junior team is also thriving, which is really down to Phil and everyone else. They deserve every credit for getting it going."
The chairman though, lays the praise firmly with the Cosmos new coach: "She has the dedication to stick with the club, and despite a tough start to the season, we have plenty to build on," he said.
"To achieve promotion we need a team that's hard to beat, and that is what Katie is turning us into.
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