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Leicester Lip Healey switches from dancing to coaching



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Austin Healey has swapped his dancing shoes for rugby boots by qualifying as a Rugby Football Union Level One coach.

The 51-times capped former England and Leicester utility back starred on BBC Television’s celebrity ballroom dancing programme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ before Christmas.

But Healey, who came out of retirement to play a handful of matches for London One club Bishop’s Stortford last season, was back on more familiar territory last week when he obtained his Level One qualification during three days of training at Moseley’s Billesley Common ground in Birmingham.

Healey was joined on the course by two other internationals in Jan Webster, the former England scrum-half, and Sarah Hunt, the flanker from Lichfield.

A fourth international, former England centre Barrie Corless led the training course which was attended by 18 trainee coaches, many of them student rugby players at South Birmingham College.

“Austin said that he enjoyed the course immensely,” said Ian Bletcher, the RFU’s Coach Development Officer for the Midlands West region, who was one of the course tutors.

“I think the other coaches enjoyed his input and having four international players from different generations gave everyone a fascinating insight.”

As a recently-retired former international and Premiership player, Healey could skipped the Level One coaching qualification and started training to be a coach.

Instead he has opted to work his way up from Level One which he will use to coach as part of the ‘Big Tackle’, an ITV series aimed at promoting and assisting rugby clubs around the country, which is due to be screened in March.

Footage of Healey taking his Level One award at Moseley is due to be included in the television series.

The Level One course was a combination of practical sessions and classroom work and included a multiple-choice test for Healey and the other attendees.

The aim of the course was to provide an introduction to the principles of safe management and coaching of adults or young people.



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