Item by Tim Holmes, M&J Chairman
Manchester Rugby Club has had its ups and downs. The long losing streak and tumble down the leagues is well documented, along with the recent accolades for rebuilding our club from the strength of our Mini & Junior Section up.
In the dark times the M&J section had to buy an off the shelf kit design as the traditional Cherry and White Hoops (the club kit since 1860) was difficult to manufacture and the club could not afford to invest in long print runs.
This season the M&J section, thanks to more modern printing techniques, is returning to the traditional Cherry and Whites for its Mini and Junior teams. Not only will this serve to unify an already tight bond between Junior and Senior rugby but has allowed us to give a nod to the late great Ian Thompson who was the guiding light and a true iconic figure at Manchester.
Thommo worked for the RFU as a Coach Educator and he had a simple phrase that he felt encompassed everything about Rugby - "Contactus Defectio Est" translated as "Contact is Failure". He believed in an expansive style of play where skill levels were high and evasion was the key. He believed in constantly developing the player, focussing on a player’s skills and game understanding.
Well before Game Sense coaching was the buzz word, Thommo was putting it into practice at Manchester with the teams he coached and the coaches he mentored. I am now M&J Chairman at Manchester and Thommo did my first ever Coaching Course, Rugby Ready, on a cold and wet night at Aldwinwians. He said to me that night "The more they play, the less you talk, the more they learn". Words I have never forgotten.
The philosophy he brought to Manchester has worked as, there are usually at least 10 or 11 of our First XV matchday squad who are graduates of M&J; we have also developed more current Aviva Premiership Players than any club in the country.
Thommo passed away a number of years ago but his philosophy has held firm and his belief in how to play the game, and how to coach is a mantra at Manchester. We hold this phrase dear to our hearts and, in his honour, as the Mini & Juniors section returns to the traditional colours of the club, his motto will be inscribed on the arm of every new shirt.
"Contactus Defectio Est" …a nod to a great man, a club icon, and a coaching innovator.
Updated 18:46 - 7 Dec 2017 by www.manchesterrugby.co.uk