James Shanahan brings back Albion legend Wayne Reed to get forwards momentum going
Plymouth Albion head coach James Shanahan has acted quickly to try and improve his side's scrummaging ability by adding former club favourite Wayne Reed to his back-room staff.
Reed has been installed as Albion's new scrum coach and was working with the team yesterday.
The 41-year-old's appointment comes in the light of disappointing displays in the set play during Albion's opening three Championship games, and particularly against London Welsh last Saturday.
"Wayne is a bit of an icon here. He is an Albion legend," said Shanahan.
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"Me and Wayne spoke last week about him coming in to help us with the scrum and he was really keen. He has played in the front row long enough. He knows the dark arts. We just need someone to develop our young pack.
"He is going to see things other people aren't, so it was a no-brainer. I'm looking forward to working with him."
Shanahan added: "We have got a young front row. They are still learning and developing. We are only going to get better every week.
"We played against a very good pack at London Welsh – they are potentially the best pack in the league – and we did struggle. We know that, but it was not for want of trying and working."
Reed was a member of the Albion pack that played their way to two successive promotions. He, Graham Dawe and Alan Paver became one of the most memorable front rows in Westcountry rugby.
Reed, who now works as a Rugby Football Union development coach in north Devon, is looking forward to helping his former club. He will come down to Brickfields one day a week to work with the pack.
"I've always had a real affection for Albion and their supporters," said Reed, who also played for Exeter, Launceston and Crediton. "After speaking to James about if I could help with the scrummaging, I was really pleased that they offered me a role."
Reed added: "I feel there is a huge amount of talent here – lots and lots of potential – I just feel they need an old head to give them a bit of guidance.
"Playing in the front row can be really, really awkward and these guys need to learn fast.
"It can be a steep learning curve but, hopefully, I can be the person that can help them with that. The main thing is getting everyone working for each other – buying into the mentality of the pack.
"I just think having someone from outside looking in will help them. When I came in, there were lots of opinions and just so many voices.
"They don't really know me that well. They probably don't know what I've done, where I've played, but they are listening and I can see improvements already.
"It is not going to change overnight, but if we can work for a few weeks I'm very confident I can make a big difference to them."
Reed played in an Albion forward unit containing Andy Perry, Will James, Dawe, Dan Ward-Smith, Olly Kohn, Pete Risdon, Danny Thomas and Brett Luxton. He said: "I've been lucky and played in some really good packs.
"With the changes to the laws now, I think the size issue can be nullified a bit. But it is essential to have great body shape and have everyone working together. That is the mentality you have to buy into and I think that is something I can definitely help with.
"I will put all my passion into Albion as I did as a player."