Plymouth Albion appoint Rhys Oakley as forwards coach

Plymouth Albion have appointed former Wales international Rhys Oakley as their forwards coach.

The 32-year-old, who won two caps for Wales in the run-up to the 2003 World Cup, moves to the Championship club after a season at Northampton.

Plymouth-born Oakley played 19 games for the Saints this season after joining them from French side Bourgoin.

The number eight has also played top-flight rugby for Leeds, Newport Gwent Dragons and Bristol.

Oakley will combine his coaching duties with playing and is new head coach James Shanahan's first addition to his backroom team since being appointed by Albion last month.

"I've been looking for an opportunity to get into coaching for the last couple of years, so when this opportunity came up I jumped at it," Oakley told BBC South West Sport.

"I met with James, we had a really long conversation about our ideas on rugby and the kind of game we want to play and we really clicked.

"The ambition the club has - the way they want to be better than they've been is perfect for me.

"It's an opportunity to take the club upwards and towards the top of the Championship."

Shanahan says he is pleased to have managed to capture someone of Oakley's calibre.

"He's been a professional rugby player all his life, played at some tops clubs, in the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup, so it's the missing link in the squad," he said. "To have someone of that experience to lead the forwards."