Former Harlequins supremo John Kingston is back in mainstream rugby after accepting a consultancy role with newly-promoted National One outfit Rams.
Kingston, who left his job as rugby director at Quins in May 2018, will work with forwards coach Owen Root as the Reading-based side build towards making an impact at their highest ever level after storming to last season’s National Two South title.
The Rugby Paper can also reveal that joining Kingston at Rams is former Scotland and London Irish utility back Greig Tonks, who is hanging up the boots but will augment the existing coaching staff with responsibility for skills and counter-attack.
Explaining his coaching coup, Rams rugby director Seb Reynolds said: “It’s an exciting time for us moving up to National One and we’ve secured the services of John Kingston to work alongside Owen in helping to develop the side and our younger players.
“We spoke to John as last season was coming to an end, just to pick his brains on rugby. But he was interested in getting involved and it ticked a lot of boxes for him in terms of what he wanted to do, so it’s fantastic to have him on board.”
Reynolds added: “Greig’s also coming in to help with skills. We already have a very strong coaching team but we like to drop in people who can bring a fresh look at things and, like John, Greig will bring a vast amount of experience.
“We like to look at other expertise and with Greig keen to start on his coaching path, it’s great to welcome him in. In addition to skills, he’ll be working on our counter-attacking and kicking game.”
Kingston, who recently set-up a company aimed at providing support and career opportunities for players and coaches in conjunction with former England football star Tony Woodcock, told TRP: “My motivation in setting up TWK Ltd was to make a difference to sports men and women and give something back to a sport I love.
“When Rams approached me I was mightily impressed by the ambition and energy of their coaches and, more importantly, they reminded me of a journey I took in my coaching career as an amateur over 25 years ago. The opportunity to assist in some small way sits well with my desire to support others in this great game of ours.”
Reynolds, meanwhile, is delighted with how his squad is shaping up ahead of the new campaign.
He said: “The biggest positive is that 99 per cent of our players from last season have re-signed. They’re excited about going into National One and, on top of that, we’re bringing in some local guys who are returning to the area.
“Connor Hayhow is joining us after spells at London Scottish and Rosslyn Park, while Jack Moates, who comes from Newbury and was at London Irish and Wasps, is doing a course at the University of Reading and will play for us.
“We know how strong National One is with big sides like Blackheath, Rosslyn Park and Moseley, but we’ll relish the challenge.”
NEALE HARVEY / Photo: Getty Images