Pope, like the new director of rugby Niall Lear, a level four coach, comes in as forwards coach.
“Steve’s appointment is great news,” said director of rugby operations Seb Anthony.
“We are putting together a very strong group of coaches, one of the strongest in the league. Steve’s resume speaks for itself, he is well respected in the world of rugby, he is a legend. Highly charismatic and knowledgeable, he is another great communicator with a track record of developing players and teams at our level and above.”
A mainstay with 250 appearances at National One and Championship level, Pope’s playing career spanned the amateur and professional eras, passing through Wasps, Blackheath, London Welsh and Swansea.
He began coaching at Blackheath in 2003, becoming director of rugby three years later, before moving to Bishop’s Stortford in 2010, where he led their rise to the National Leagues. That same year he became a rugby professional at Reed’s School in Cobham, Surrey, where he has worked for the past 13 years.
After five years at Bishop’s Stortford, he joined local club Cobham as Director of Rugby, overseeing promotion to what is now Regional 2 Thames, where they have remained a competitive force throughout his tenure. He has been an RFU coach educator for over a decade, advising, evaluating and accrediting coaches. experience that North Walsham will use as they look to build the quality of coaching across the club.
Pope is moving to Norfolk to become head of rugby at Langley School and the 50-year-old sees the opportunity to combine the two roles as “the perfect opportunity”.
“I have long admired North Walsham, consistently striking above their weight at national level from an area that is not a rugby hotspot,” he said.
“The club has a great feeling about it, but also a great vision: a long-term plan built around community ties and partnerships with the UEA, universities and schools, both state and independent. I’m very excited to be a part of that. “. .”