Since hanging up his crampons last May, Dave Ryan has become the forwards coach of SU Agen. He recounts his first steps in his new role.
He still has his cap screwed on his head, the shorts and the SUA t-shirt, the crampons on his feet. But now, a whistle and a stopwatch hanging around his massive neck. Since July 1, Dave Ryan is no longer a player but a coach. “During a cohesion party, someone said: Dave went to the dark side” (laughs).
In his last years, the Irishman never hid his desire to train afterwards. Bernard Goutta and Agen offered him this express conversion. “It’s a completely different job. I have a lot more respect now for coaches than I had in my career because it’s a lot of work. But I like that. »
From June, the former right pillar sacrificed part of his leave to get down to work. “As when I was a player, I like to arrive well prepared for the recovery”. There is technical and tactical work. But above all there was the human approach. “I spoke about it with Bernard who experienced the same thing. He told me to keep good relations with the players. He also told me what he had done well and less well at the time. It helped me a lot”. Ryan also contacted many coaches, including his brother in Ireland, to pick up some good ideas, advice, warnings.
Responsibility and communication
“Off the field, we remain friends, confides Vincent Farré, who has been with him for many years. But in training, he becomes the coach again. “I would say that I am between the two, the guys can talk to me perhaps more easily, believes the new Agen coach. It’s a little hard sometimes. You can’t be in the joke anymore, you’re on the other side. But the players know me. I don’t play dumb, I’m a fair guy. I’m not saying something to hurt, but just to help them improve.
Today, Dave Ryan seems very comfortable in his new baskets. Above all, he appreciates the staff’s way of working, based on accountability and permanent sharing. “I learn from Manny and Bernard every day. When I have an idea, we can talk about it, they advise me. Anyway, you never do something without talking to others about it, including Ludovic Loustau. Bernard is the coach, and we want to stick to his game plan and his project for the club”.
His roles mainly focus on scrum work and carrying the balls. He also worked a lot on the sidelines, in full restructuring. Finally, he assists Bernard Goutta on defense work. “He challenges us with Manny during the oppositions, attack against defense”.
Sport, but more contact!
The call of the field is never far away. “Especially the contacts”. But the Irishman hung up his crampons well. During a ruck drill, the urge tickled him so much that he decided to join the players. “That’s when I realized it was over, I left with a loose shoulder” (laughs).
With the other members of the staff, however, he continues to talk early in the morning in the weight room. “I lost 9 kg! “When you’ve done intense sport for 20 years, you can’t stop like that,” he says. It happened to players, and they had complications behind. I who had back problems, I have to do sheathing in particular. But I have to say that when you don’t push more scrums, you feel less bad” (smile).
As the first games approached, the neo-coach sent the urge to go up. “The players put a lot of investment. Even if the session is hard, they don’t complain and stay in the frame. We try to give these habits. In fact, each session improves. Now, we are going to be more focused on our skills, precision work, in conquest in particular”.
If he still happens to miss the Whatsapp group of players, Dave Ryan is fulfilling and flourishing completely in his new role. Hardworking and serious as he has always been at Agen, he is unanimous. Amazing isn’t it?