Steve Woolcombe has been appointed the new men’s head coach of Basingstoke Rugby Football Club for the 2022–2023 season. 

Woolcombe’s appointment marks a return to the club, 20 years on from when he previously played for the First XV. 

Since moving into professional coaching, he has held County positions at Sussex and Hampshire, and club positions at Chichester, Petersfield, and Havant. 

His highlights include heading up the regional development programme at West Sussex and leading the academy programme at Havant, while completing his England Rugby Advanced Coaching Award (Old RFU L3).

READ MORE: Richard Cheetham MBE returns to Basingstoke RFC

Woolcombe is currently director of rugby at Chichester & Havant and South Downs College, as well as working closely with London Irish on their Developing Player Programme (DPP).  

In addition to his coaching experience, Woolcombe enjoyed a playing career which included spells at club sides like Askeans, Blackheath, Havant and Salisbury.

Further honours were gained at County level playing for Kent, Sussex and Dorset & Wilts. 

During this time, he served for 23 years in the British Army, coaching the 3 x Army Rugby Championship side 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.   

Woolcombe said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed Head Coach and I am excited to work with the outstanding coaching group already in place. Not many clubs can boast to have coaches with the experience and credentials of Richard Cheetham MBE and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him in shaping the future of this young squad.

Although early in the pre-season, the numbers are at training have been impressive and we have been boosted with many previous players returning and a surge of previous Colt players eager to pull on a BRFC jersey again.

I have no doubt with the league restructure that this will be a real test for us, but we have a young squad and robust pre-season which will prepare us fully for our first game away to Portsmouth on 6 August.

My focus will remain to create a positive, inclusive, and exciting but challenging environment for all players, helping them develop and experience an exciting brand of rugby.”

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James Jagged, chair of Basingstoke RFC, added: “Steve brings a continuity to the squad which will be vital as we enter the new season. He will look to build on the fantastic work previously undertaken by Dave Lambert, Darren Lillywhite, Chris Williams and Simon Appleby. Steve’s vision and style of play is clear to see, it is already becoming part of the culture within the squad.  There is a renewed buzz around the club and we are looking forward to the pre-season fixtures and getting the league campaign underway.”