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 is Head of Academy and also fills the role of Backs and Attack Coach for TJs 1st XV. He has been at TJs since 2004 first as a player and now as a coach.

During his playing career he represented Tonbridge School, Cardiff University, Crowborough and TJs 1st XVs before joining the senior coaching staff in 2009.

Upon joining TJs as a player in 2004 Gareth quickly got involved with coaching in the Junior section before joining the senior coaching staff in 2009 initially with responsibility for the 2nd XV with whom he won back to back Invicta 1 titles and the Kent Plate. In 2013 Gareth joined the 1st XV coaching team as video analyst and skills coach combining this role with being Head Coach of the newly formed TJs Academy. Gareth was appointed Head of Academy in 2015 and has won two National Cups and over 20 Kent titles as a TJs coach including two Senior Kent Cups with the 1st XV.

Howard Mudge – Academy Lead 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 since its establishment in 2013 contributing to the two National Cup wins of 2015 and 2017. Howard is a Sports Coach at Judd School where he is Master in Charge of U12 and U16 rugby as well as 1st XV Backs Coach.  In addition to his role in the Academy Howard currently assists in coaching skills and defence to TJs 1st XV.


Mark Healey – Academy Coach and Sports Psychologist

Mark has been an important part of the Academy set up since its beginnings in 2013. Originally joining the club to work alongside Gareth in the Junior section, Mark joined the Academy staff upon its restructure in 2013 and was part of the coaching team who won the 2015 and 2017 National Cups. 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. Mark also spent a season on the senior staff at TJs working 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.

Jack Nay – Academy Forwards Coach

Jack is a new addition to the TJs Academy coaching team for the 2019-20 season having re-signed with his childhood club following almost three years with Premiership side Saracens.

Jack joined TJs as a player at the start of his U14 season and within 18months had been selected for Kent and then Saracens Academy. Jack made his England U16 debut in 2014 and went on to represent England at every age grade winning a Grand Slam with England U20s and reaching the U20 World Championship Final in 2017. Jack signed professional terms with Saracens at the end of his U18 season and spent two and a half years with the three-time European Champions followed by a stint at Toronto Arrows in the newly formed US Major League Rugby.

Jack will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the young Academy players whilst also playing for the 1st XV and working at Hilden Grange School.

Seb Sherwood – Academy Defence Coach

Seb made several appearances as a guest coach with the Academy in the 2018-19 season and will be a more regular member of the coaching team this season.

Seb joined TJs 1st XV coaching staff as Defence Coach in 2018 bringing a level of knowledge and attention to detail that helped propel the club to its highest ever position in the RFU league structure. Prior to joining TJs Seb spent time in New Zealand working with Super Rugby side Waikato Chiefs and currently fills the position of Analysis Consultant for the RFU.



Rory McHugh – Academy Coach and Physio

Rory joins the Academy staff for the 2019-20 season filling a dual role as coach and physio three years after graduating from TJs Academy as a player.

Rory completed his physiotherapy degree in the summer of 2019 and will provide injury support and rehabilitation that is essential in today’s game. In addition to this role Rory will assist in coaching, specifically in lineout play where he excels as a player.

Rory won the National Cup with TJs Academy in 2015 and has since made over 30 appearances for the National League 1st XV whilst also coaching in the Junior section during the 2018-19 season.

Ady Crouch – Academy Forwards Coach

Ady has been a member of the Academy coaching staff since 2014, specialising in forward play.  As well as coaching in the Academy, Ady sits on various club committees and can still regularly be found playing for the 3rd team and assists in transitioning older and former Academy players from Youth to Senior rugby. Ady has been part of the Academy staff for both our National Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2017.






James Goldsworthy – Academy Backs Coach

James, or Goldy as he is better known, joined the Academy coaching set up in 2016 having worked with the U15s the previous year. He brings a wealth of experience as a former TJs 1st XV player and will be coaching back play and individual skills across all age groups of the Academy. Goldy was part of the 2017 National Cup winning coaching team.




Barry Walsh – Academy Forwards Coach

Barry has been part of the Academy coaching team since the 2013 restructure focusing his time working with forwards in all age groups and specialising in set piece play. Barry has previously been 4th team skipper and held the position of Club Captain. As well as coaching Barry helps Academy players past and present transition into the adult game. Barry is a popular member of the coaching staff well-liked by the players, particularly the front row who enjoy learning the ‘dark arts’ from the experienced Baz!




Dan Webb – Academy Backs Coach and Lead Analyst

Dan is new to TJs for the 2019-20 season and will be assisting with Back play and individual skills whilst also performing the role of Lead Analyst.

Dan attended the University of Bath before spending a year coaching in America and will not only bring energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to the table but provide an extra set of eyes and ears for the players to seek individual advice from.





Guy Kennedy – Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach

Guy joined TJs Academy as a player in 2016 and went on to play a major part in the 2017 National Cup win including scoring a try in the final at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium.

Guy has always based his game around immense power and since graduating from the Academy has obtained several personal training, weight lifting and strength and conditioning qualifications.

For the 2019-20 season Guy will be filling the position of Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Academy providing off-season and pre-season programmes whilst also being able to provide more individually tailored advice and in-season programming in a private basis.

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