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Codling’s midas touch

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:05 11 August 2010

FINISHING THE JOB: Alex Codling wants to finish what he started at Barking

FINISHING THE JOB: Alex Codling wants to finish what he started at Barking

AFTER a whirlwind first 12 months in the Barking rugby hot seat, head coach Alex Codling says he will be setting the bar even higher in his sophomore year.

by IAIN LIDDLE

AFTER a whirlwind first 12 months in the Barking rugby hot seat, head coach Alex Codling says he will be setting the bar even higher in his sophomore year.

A poor start to the 2008-09 campaign saw the Goresbrook side rooted to the foot of National Two South and led to the dismissal of Codling's predecessor Mark Robinson.

The 36-year-old former Harlequins lock was named as his replacement on Janaury 2 and admits his initial aims were moderate compared to his normally lofty aspirations.

Scenes

"I'd been working behind the scenes for six months before Mark Robinson left and the committee offered me the job," said Codling.

"They were bottom of the league, but I knew they were a great club with plenty of potential.

"The initial target was just to stay in the league and in the end we did that quite comfortably, although there were a few nervous moments along the way.

"I could see improvements when we trained in pre-season. The attitude from the players was fantastic.

"I don't set out to win the league at the start of the season; I just aim to play well and try to win the next game.

"From pre-season though I knew we'd be in the top reaches of the league and if we can go on to win it, then it will be a great achievement."

Codling earned his sole England cap in 2002 against Argentina and was a contender for England's 2003 World Cup squad.

While injury cut short his playing career, he made a natural transition into coaching with Ebbw Vale in Wales.

In similar circumstances to his beginning at Barking, he helped the side escape relegation before leading them to a second-placed finish, an achievement which saw him crowned Premiership coach of the year.

Barking recently announced that their players and coaching staff will not be guaranteed their wages from February onwards, which led to speculation that the up-and-coming boss could be lured away.

While Codling admits he is keen to test himself against the best, he insists he is going nowhere in the near future.

"I coached a lot of set-pieces in the Premiership and feel comfortable in those circles," he said.

Opportunity

"I am ambitious and, one day, if an opportunity came up, then I would love to coach at the top level.

"But in the short-term my main priority is Barking and finishing the job here."


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