Louie Tonkin: New Cornish Pirates coach relishing 'dream' role

Louie Tonkin
Louie Tonkin has coached in Wales, England and Bahrain

Cornish Pirates assistant coach Louie Tonkin says his role at the Championship club is a 'dream' for him.

Tonkin moved to the club in the summer after long-serving former captain Chris Morgan took up a role with Worcester.

It is a first job in the professional men's game for Tonkin, who was an academy coach at Exeter for two years before moving to the Mennaye.

"The chance to come and coach the Pirates was a dream for me," he told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"I love it, the guys are great. There's a lot of locality around the place, a lot of boys born and bred in Cornwall that play for the Pirates and are passionate about that.

"I just love everything that it stands for really, it's going really well for me at the moment and I'm really enjoying it."

Tonkin was born in Cornwall but grew up in Wales and played for the likes of Swansea, Coventry, and Llandovery as a lock before moving into coaching.

He had spells with Scarlets' academy, Carmarthen Quins, Cardiff University and three years as director of rugby at Bahrain Rugby before joining the Chiefs in 2019.

"I've tried to explore as much as I possibly can. I'm quite big on my learning, as anyone who knows me will tell you," he said.

"I like to get out there and explore new ways to learn and new ways to coach.

"I've travelled a lot, I've coached in different age groups, I started in academies and worked into some senior teams down in west Wales and cut my teeth there at quite a young age, and then an opportunity to coach abroad which was fantastic, and building relationships and everything that comes with that.

"I think that was something that I've really taken forward with me a lot in my current role.

"But this is a different gravy, this is the professional game, this is what I've wanted to do for a long time and to get access to these boys day in day out and the great group that they are, I'm really enjoying it.

Alan Paver and Louie Tonkin
Joint-head coach Alan Paver (left) is working alongside Tonkin with the Pirates' forwards

"I am drawing on past experiences, but this is very much a new learning experience for me and something I'm really enjoying at the moment."

Tonkin is working under Pirates' long-serving joint head coaches Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver.

The pair, who have been in charge since 2016, played more than 550 games for the Pirates between them before switching to coaching roles.

"The experience that those guys have got in all aspects of the game is phenomenal really," Tonkin added.

"I'm really enjoying working with Gav on the attacking side and me and Paves are getting really deep into some forward detail, looking at some dark arts stuff, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

"There's literally nothing that these boys haven't done or tried and in my opinion there's no-one better to learn from at the moment so I'm very privileged, but the Pirates are privileged to have them as well."

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