Former Irish international captain Michael Bradley has been appointed coach of Romanian professional club side CSM Bucuresti.
Bradley who had spells at the helm of Connacht, Edinburgh and Georgia has inked an 18-month deal with the Bucharest-based outfit.
His record and knowledge of emerging European nations made him a perfect fit to help develop a club that is barely a decade in existence.
“This is pro-league stuff and I am woking with one of the younger teams; they’re trying to establish the team in Bucharest, they have two other sides, one is associated with the Police and the other with the Army so now they (The Romanian Rugby Union) are trying to develop interest in the club scene there.
“Lots of good things are happening in Romanian rugby and the union are trying to put in systems and processes that will help. Georgian rugby has surpassed Romania in the last eight to ten years, in the bigger picture ideally is to produce a model club then that might help move things on in Romania. They are ten years going, similar to Georgia there were issues for rugby with the break-up of Communism. Back then you basically had government sponsored teams and of course that has changed a lot, it’s an effort to design a road map going forward.”
Bradley is eager for the challenge. “It is a blank canvas to a certain degree, I would be familiar with the style of rugby having seen them first hand playing against Georgia, the style of rugby doesn’t vary too much and there is a progression needed, they need to broaden the type of game they play and upskill the forwards for instance to play the type of game they will need to play.
“It’s a very interesting project, I don’t know how it’s going to end up and certainly it needs to be supported from every point of view from within but it could be a great project to be involved in.
“They have a good academy system throughout the country and World Rugby have helped a lot to establish that. They’re now starting to look for outlets for those young players; they have a fair amount of overseas players coming in. They will need to sharpen up on that, the quality will have to improve and the numbers (of players coming in) might have to drop with rules something like the Irish model perhaps.”
Bradley hasn’t ruled out the possibility of signing some Irish/British players in key positions for his new team. “You have a couple of things going here, the standard here (in Ireland) is higher and if players were not getting games here and were looking to have an outlet then obviously the opportunity might be there in Bucharest for them. And they would be able to earn reasonably decent money, it’s a pro-league and the players (like everywhere) earn good money depending on how good they are.”
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