Tonbridge Juddians RFC

Academy Staff


TJs Academy boasts a coaching and support staff unrivalled in strength and depth by any other club in Kent and truly special for grass roots Junior level rugby. In addition to those listed below good use is made of the club’s semi-professional 1st XV players and the experience they have to offer our young players.


Gareth Withers – Head of Academy -07739455783

Gareth has been at TJs since 2004 first as a player and now as a coach. During his playing career he represented the Tonbridge School, Cardiff University, Crowborough and TJs 1st XVs before joining the senior coaching staff in 2009. 

Gareth currently fills the role of 1st XV video analyst and skills coach having previously been responsible for the 2nd XV where he won back to back Invicta 1 titles and the Kent Plate.He has coached Youth rugby at the club for the past eight years winning 11 Kent competitions including six whilst Head Coach of the Academy – a role he also held in the National Colts Cup winning season of 2015.  Gareth is a Level 2 qualified coach who has previously been a Kent age grade coach and is currently Director of Sport at Hilden Grange Preparatory School in Tonbridge


Pete Dankert – 1st XV Head Coach / Academy Lead Forwards Coach

Pete is an ARU Senior Coach who returned to England in 1989 and was soon offered the Head Coach position at Maidstone.  From there he moved to Blackheath where he had the opportunity to work with Micky Skinner and current USA 7s coach Mike Friday.  Spells at Westcombe Park and then Canterbury followed winning multiple promotions into the National League.  

Simultaneously he filled the roles of Senior Kent Forwards Coach, Lead Coach of the Kent U18s and Lead Coach of the London Divisional side where he won two National titles.Pete joined TJs in the summer of 2008 immediately winning three successive promotions. For the past three years Pete has combined his 1st XV work with his Academy role and was Head of Academy in the 2015 National Cup winning season.


Howard Mudge – Academy Lead Backs Coach

Howard played over 300 1st XV games for TJs, Old Juddians, Welwyn, Havent and Brixham. After retiring from playing he filled the role of 1st XV Backs Coach at TJs before becoming an age group coach winning four consecutive Kent Cups. Howard has been a member of the Academy coaching staff for the past three seasons including playing his part in the National Colts Cup win of 2015. Howard is a Sports Coach at Judd School and currently coaches the 2nd XV Backs.


Paul Dawson – Defence / Strength and Conditioning Coach

Paul is a former 1st XV player and a Level 1 coach who has spent much of the past five years coaching alongside Gareth in TJs Junior and Academy sections winning multiple Kent titles and the 2015 National Colts Cup. In the 2014-15 season Paul coached the 2nd XV to the Kent Invicta 1 title and joined the 1st XV coaching team last season. Paul is passionate about defence and about helping Academy players prepare for the physical nature of adult rugby. Paul is a Sports Coach at Judd School and also runs his own online Athletic performance business – Get Yours. For more information and to take advantage of TJs Academy player discounts on Get Yours packages please follow the links or contact Paul.

Mark Healey – Sports Psychologist

Mark has been an important part of the TJs set up for the past four seasons. Originally joining the club to work alongside Gareth in the Junior section Mark joined TJs Academy upon its restructure in 2013 and was on the staff for the 2015 National Colts Cup success. Mark graduated with an MSc (Merit) in Sport and Exercise Psychology adding to his BSc (Hons) in Sport Psychology. During his postgraduate year he completed an eight-month placement with Championship side London Welsh RFC. Last season Mark joined the senior coaching team where he worked with the 1st and 2nd XV squads focusing on closed skills and routines. Outside TJs Mark runs his own Sports Psychology consultancy practice – Plega. In addition to TJs Mark has worked with London Welsh RFC, Gillingham FC, Tonbridge School and members of the European PGA Tour.

James Simpson – Forwards Coach / Lead U18 Coach / U18 Manager

As well as coaching in the Academy James is TJs Club Captain and oversees senior rugby from the 2nd XV down as well as the Ladies and Junior sections. James is a former 1st XV player and former 1st and 2nd XV Head Coach. This season James will lead the U18 team that is entering the Kent League for the first time as well as coaching other age group forward units and breakdown skills across the Academy. In addition to this James will be administration manager to the U18 age group.


Barry Walsh – Forwards Coach / 3rd and 4th Team Liaison

Barry has been part of the Academy coaching team since the 2013 restructure and focuses his tie working with forwards in all age groups. Barry is currently senior 4th XV Captain and will act as a link to those 17 and 18 year old Academy boys who would like to start their senior rugby carriers in the lower end teams.


Jamie Ansell – Academy Coach / U17 Manager

Jamie joined the Academy coaching set up at the start of last season and is a valuable member of the team. A former Judd School and Old Juddians 1st XV player, Jamie brings knowledge and enthusiasm to his role. In addition to his coaching duties Jamie acts as administration manager to the U17 age group and is also the resident Academy statistician.


James Goldsworthy – Backs / Skills Coach

James is new to the Academy coaching set up this year having worked with the U15s last season. He brings a wealth of experience as a former TJs 1st XV player and whilst coaching backs and individual skills across all age groups of the Academy James will focus his match day attentions with the U16s.


Sam Parrett – Forwards Coach

Sam is another new recruit to the Academy this season but brings with him a wealth of experience not only as a Mini and Junior section coach but also as a former 1st and 2nd XV prop forward. In addition to his mastery of the dark arts of the front row Sam was a skilful player who will add a lot to the Academy set up. Alongside James Goldsworthy, Sam will largely focus his match day attention with the U16 age group.


Steve Farr – Guest Coach

Steve has kindly agreed to offer TJs Academy the benefit of his considerable experience again this season on a part time, guest appearance basis. Steve is a Level 3 qualified coach who worked for the RFU for 20 years in a coach and player development role. He has coached extensively at County and Divisional level and been with TJs 1st XV for well over a decade winning three promotions in that time. In recent years he has also led our Mini and Junior sections and been a member of the Academy coaching team.


Keith Roshier – Academy Administration Manager

Keith is the main point of contact  regarding weekly availability and other Academy and club events.

© TJRFC 2016
01732 358548