DMP Sharks have appointed Justin Loveridge and Mike Umaga to their new coaching team ahead of the coming season

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks are delighted to announce two new additions to their coaching set up. Justin Loveridge will join the club as Head of Programme, whilst Mike Umaga takes over as Lead Coach. The new appointments come ahead of the new exclusive women’s top flight competition, which is expected to get underway in September of this year. Mowden Park’s Head of Women and Girl’s Rugby Anthony Corps was thrilled with the appointments: “I am delighted with the appointment of Mike Umaga as Lead Coach and Justin Loveridge as Head of Programme for DMP Sharks in the New Women’s Elite Rugby Competition. They bring a wealth of playing, coaching and organisational skill which I am sure will be invaluable to our success on the pitch, as will the links we have with our partner universities at Durham, Northumbria and Leeds. I can’t wait for the start of the season to see what progress Mike and Justin are making.”

Incoming lead coach Mike Umaga joins the club having spent the last few seasons as Director of Rugby for Bishop Burton College, achieving 3 promotions in 3 years in his time there. Umaga, who represented Samoa 13 times during his playing career, was delighted to be joining the Sharks setup: “I am really looking forward to joining up with Darlington Mowden Park Sharks as part of the coaching team for the upcoming 2017/18 season. I have been very impressed with the ambition of both the players and staff at the club in the short time that I have gotten to know them, and l am excited about what lies ahead for the season. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the ladies squad and it will be interesting to see how this group develops over the coming preseason weeks before we start the league in earnest in September!”

New Head of Programme Justin Loveridge comes to the North East having spent the past season as Attack and Kicking coach at Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club. Following a playing career in both Wales and New Zealand, Loveridge has fulfilled a variety of coaching roles with the Leicester Tigers and the Wolfhounds. The new Head of Programme was equally excited about the Sharks’ prospects next season: “I’m excited to be joining DMP Sharks. This is a big opportunity to coach such a well-established premiership team in the new competition format. The club have big aspirations to be successful in the new league and I am looking forward to helping a talented group of rugby players achieve their targets. Preseason is progressing well and the squad is looking to build strong foundations for the season ahead.”

DMP Sharks Chairman Tamara Taylor was also thrilled with the announcements: “We are really pleased to have appointed two outstanding candidates. The interviews were extremely competitive which shows where we are starting to get to in the women’s game. Next season will be the start of a very exciting time for women’s rugby, with the new women’s Competition and increased investment from the RFU and club partners. Justin has worked within performance rugby for a number of years and will be instrumental in helping to shape the programme as it unfolds over the next few years. Mike has played and worked at an elite level in the men’s game which will hold him in great stead for developing players in the north east. I can’t wait for them to get started – women’s rugby is firmly on the map!”

Further information ahead of the upcoming Sharks season will be released in due course.