London Scottish has strengthened their coaching team considerably during pre-season by confirming Mike Friday as Director of Rugby with former England international scrum-half Pete Richards coming on board as backs coach.
Both will work alongside head coach James Buckland as the Club prepares to challenge for a top four finish in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship.
Mike Friday joined London Scottish as backs coach last September and played a key role in helping the Club finish fifth in the Greene King IPA Championship, their highest league placing in 15 years.
Previously Friday enjoyed coaching spells at Wasps, London Welsh, Blackheath and Rosslyn Park having also nurtured the finest talent in English rugby at the RFU's National Academy.
On the international sevens stage he enjoyed huge success as England Sevens head coach, leading them to an unprecedented four successive Hong Kong Sevens victories and a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
During his five years at the RFU, more than 30 players who were part of the Sevens Pathway legacy went on to become full England internationalists.
Friday also guided Kenya to 4th place in the 2013 RWC Sevens tournament and moved their ranking from 12th to 5th in the IRB World Sevens circuit.
Commenting on his new role, Friday said: “I am really pleased to be remaining at the Club as Director of Rugby.
“It has been very evident from my time here that there is real ambition to create a sustainable legacy with fantastic support from the Board of Directors and sponsors.
“We have seen substantial change in the off season with our recruitment as we have sought to evolve a highly ambitious squad which possess ability, strength of character and a work ethic to compete at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship.
“We have brought in players who can give us more grit and resilience in the pack and boosted the firepower in our back division.”
He continued: “I am looking forward to complementing the coaching team of head coach James Buckland and backs coach Peter Richards who are two great coaches with real ambition and talent.
“With the highly talented Tim Harper and Jenny Graham leading the performance and medical areas respectively, we have a first class backroom team.
“This is an exciting journey London Scottish is on and I’m pleased to be part of it.”
Richards, 36, enjoyed a successful playing career winning the Heineken Cup and the Premiership (twice) at Wasps as well as the European Challenge Cup at Gloucester.
He earned 13 international caps playing in all of England’s 2007 World Cup matches, including the final against South Africa.
Richards was also an excellent exponent of the shortened game, memorably helping England win the 2004 Hong Kong Sevens tournament when Mike Friday was at the helm.
The former Treviso, Bristol, Harlequins and London Irish scrum-half retired from playing in 2010 after a second spell at Irish and has since carved out a coaching career working with the Israeli national sevens squad and Esher before most recently working as first team skills coach at London Irish and heading up the club’s Academy.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to have joined the set-up at London Scottish.
“I know James very well from my playing days and Mike from the Sevens circuit, so it is a familiar environment for me in that sense and also a familiar surrounding as I remember playing against London Scottish down in Richmond when they were in the Premiership.
“There seems to be plenty of pace in the backline and we have some exciting young players who can be developed.
“On the hard grounds, certainly at the beginning of the season, it will be interesting to see how they go.”
London Scottish head coach James Buckland said: “I am really pleased to have Pete on board and it’s a further sign of the progress being made off the field at London Scottish.
“Tapping into his vast knowledge and experience of the game will be great.
“We have done plenty of planning for the new season and he has added considerable value in pre-season.”
London Scottish Chief executive Kenny Baillie said: “I am delighted that Mike Friday will remain with us in his new role as Director of Rugby and equally thrilled Peter has come on board as backs coach.
“Mike has greatly impressed the Board of Directors since he joined us last season and Peter brings to the table a wealth of international experience.
“Both are making a significant impact in pre-season and I genuinely believe that going into the new season we have an incredibly strong backroom team which will get the very best out of this much changed and exciting first team squad.”