Behind the scenes, following Cornwall’s defeat to Lancashire in the Bill Beaumont Cup Final, negotiations have been taking place to find a replacement for Dave “Benji” Thomas as county coach for the 2013/14 campaign.
Finally yesterday evening the suspense was lifted with the naming of both Graham Dawe and Ian Morgan to lead the County’s challenge next season.
As soon as Thomas announced that the Twickenham final would be his swansong then Dawe was the name on almost everyone’s lips to succeed Cornwall’s longest serving coach who took the side to the title in 1991 and the runner’s up spot in 1989, 92 and 2013.
Dawe was of course part of Thomas’ side that famously lifted the County title in 1991 in that never-to-be-forgotten extra-time win over Yorkshire in front of a full-house at Twickenham.
Dawesy played for England, Bath, Sale, Plymouth Albion and Launceston. He was involved with the England Squad for ten years and played in the 1987 and 1995 World Cups. He won 14 major trophies during 12 years at Bath before moving on to Sale and also represented the Barbarians, South West, and Cornwall. Graham became player-coach of Plymouth Albion in 1999. He is believed to be the first 50 year old to play professional rugby, turning out for Plymouth Albion in the Championship and British & Irish Cup. He guided Plymouth from the bottom of National League Three South to the RFU Championship. He also helped Devon to County Championship success much to the chagrin of many Cornishmen!
Dawe said “I am looking forward to coaching the Cornwall senior squad, and working with Ian Morgan in preparing the squad for the 2014 County Championship Campaign. Although I have other commitments in the game I feel it is a great honour to be asked to coach a County team that has so much Rugby history and passion for the County Championship”.
Morgan has played for Cornwall, RAF, Combined Services, Camborne, Lydney, Redruth, Penryn, St. Ives and Brixham and coached St Ives, Brixham, Cornwall 20’s, Cornwall Senior 15, RAF, & Combined Services.
Morgan said “I am really excited about coaching Cornwall; it is something I have wanted to do for a long time. It will be great to work with Dawesy, I have known Graham for a long time now and I think we will work well together”. He went on to say “There is a lot of exciting talent in Cornwall and hopefully we can put a team together and go one better this season!! The players will have learned from that experience and that will only help the squad, I can’t wait to get started”.
CRFU President Ken Plummer said “Graham and Ian will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the CRFU”. He went on to say, “Personally and on behalf of the rugby community of Cornwall, I offer a big warm welcome to both of them”.
Chair of the CRFU Denis Preece joined in the warm welcome for both men and went on to say; – “These appointments will allow us to build on the good work of last few seasons. They will add to the set up that we currently operate, and I am sure will bring a new focus to everyone involved with the County squad”.