DONCASTER PHOENIX: Ryan Peacey back in town to be Phoenix player-coach

Teaming up: Doncaster Phoenix coaches Ryan Peacey and Donavan Van Vuuren.
Teaming up: Doncaster Phoenix coaches Ryan Peacey and Donavan Van Vuuren.

FORMER Doncaster Knights’ star Ryan Peacey has signed up to return to Castle Park - but this time as the new player-coach of Doncaster Phoenix.

The ex-Saracens and Gloucester back-row, who has been playing and coaching at National League side Harrogate for the past six seasons, will take over the Phoenix role from another Knights’ forward Steve Boden, who is leaving the town.

His capture has delighted the ambitious Yorkshire Division Two club, who are hoping the 29-year-old flanker - who also lists Cornish Pirates among his former clubs and has appeared in the England U18 and U21 set- ups - can trigger a promotion push next season.

“When Steve let us know he was planning on leaving Doncaster, we wanted to make sure we secured a top class replacement who could also lead on the field and Ryan ticks all those boxes, and more,’’ said Phoenix Rugby Director Drew Noble.

“He’s been starring at a much higher level and we’re confident that as well as helping us on the field during games, he can also bring on some of the youngsters we’ve got coming through the Phoenix ranks.’’

Peacey, who lives locally, said he was excited about the opportunity of coaching Phoenix, where he’ll be supported by another former Knights’ favourite, flying wing Donavan Van Vuuren.

“I’m an ambitious coach and the club shares the same goals of trying to push on for promotion up the league structure, while at the same time making sure the players enjoy the game and everything else it brings,’’ he said.

“I’ve been at Harrogate for six years and the chance of being able to coach and play on my doorstep was obviously also a big pull. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the players and maybe bringing in some new faces if we need some - but I already feel there’s a real buzz of excitement about the place and I can’t wait to get started.’’