New leading role for Pied Piper Paul

Fylde v Leicester Lions at Woodlands, Ansdell. Paul Arnold.
Fylde v Leicester Lions at Woodlands, Ansdell. Paul Arnold.
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FYLDE’S most influential signing of the season, second row forward Paul Arnold, has a new job based at Sedgley Park RU, but he is staying put at the Woodlands to aid the club’s promotion push.

Arnold is celebrating after landing a job as the RFU’s Greater Manchester development team as a community coach.

He will work out of the Manchester club but coach Mark Nelson said: “Paul is contracted to Fylde for the rest of this season and the next as well.

“He has always wanted a job like this and we have encouraged him all the way.

“It is an ideal role for him, particularly when working with young kids because he is something of a Pied Piper figure to them.”

Arnold, who hails from St Helens, will work with clubs and schools in the Bury, Oldham and Sedgley Park area.

His career has seen him wearing the colours of West Park, Sedgley Park, Sale Sharks, Orrell, Nottingham, Moseley, Caldy and latterly Fylde, as well as England Counties, Lancashire and the Barbarians

“I first did some coaching when I was 21 at Sedgley Park and really enjoyed it,” Arnold said. Then I’ve been into schools doing coaching work at the other clubs I’ve played for, and now I’m not involved in full-time rugby this is the perfect job for me. I love the game.”

Arnold comes to the RFU from a multi-coaching role with Liverpool Council and expects to start a level three RU coaching course shortly.

Andrew Soutar, rugby development officer for Greater Manchester, said: “Paul is a very experienced player with an international pedigree at England Counties level, bags of knowledge from his days with Lancashire and a long apprenticeship at a high standard with a number of clubs.

“He is well-known in his patch, has a strong commitment to coaching and will become a very strong member of a very good team.”

Arnold is in the Fylde side that visits Kendal tomorrow. Fylde moved into second place on the back of their 60-point win over Morley, while Kendal are fourth-bottom.

Fylde make changes from the Morley line-up, with Richard Kenyon taking over at full-back from Jason Robinson, who has his customary away-day Saturday off. That frees up Steve Collins to have his first start at fly-half. He was a second half replacement against Morley, scoring once, but giving away two interception tries.

Collins’ half-back partner will be Martin Wallwork, starting the match at No.9.

Craig Aikman, normally the first choice, is on the bench. Nelson said that the decision had been taken for ‘tactical’ reasons.

Nick King comes into the second row to partner Arnold, while Mark Stephenson is selected in the back row, getting the nod over Ali Sutherland, a try scorer against Morley.

Josh Beaumont, who starred two tries against Morley, will not play. Durham University have not cleared the teenager, a decision which Nelson described diplomatically as “disappointing”.

Nelson said of the task facing his side tomorrow: “Kendal and Mint Bridge are always a tough nut to crack, no matter where they are in the table, which we will disregard.

“Kendal are a very committed side and they have added a couple of players recently. It is no secret that they will be relishing the prospect of playing Fylde at Mint Bridge and they will want to give us a warm reception.”

Fylde: Kenyon; Royle, Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Collins, Wallwork; Livesey, Roddam, Altham, Arnold, King, Ferguson, Stephenson, S Beaumont. Replacements: Lavelle, Thoma/Holmes, Sutherland, Aikman, Lomax.