Coaching The Barbarians – the inside track with Dai Young

With Dai Young having secured confirmation as ‘coach’ of The Barbarians for its upcoming clashes next year against England and the British & Irish Lions, explores one of the great unanswered questions of world rugby: just what does the sporadically chosen coach of a nomadic, invitation-only team actually do?

“Essentially, all the coach has to do is get a few drinks down the boys and then get them out on the paddock to chuck it about a bit,” recalls Gareth Edwards, while expectantly looking around the room for encouragement.  “Chucking it about a bit is a key tenet of the Barbarians way, along with wearing a jersey that doesn’t quite fit, and getting absolutely slaughtered.”

“And I remember the line-out calls were all-wees a load a bollix,” according to Willie John McBride and his toupee.  “The hooker would just shout out a few numbers and chuck it in dere.  Alan Phillips used ta get his 2s and 5s all mixed up anywee.  But he made up for it in all da fights.  Dai needs ta make sure he picks enough hookers for dis tour, so to speak, to be sure to be sure begorra.”

Critical to supporting a successful coaching and conditioning environment for the Barbarians players is the role of the Team Manager, Derek Quinnell.  “I got big hands see, and big hands means you can get a big round in,” he thundered.  “I also got to make sure all the players get flown in from around the world and put up in the right hotel.   Once, before a Scotland game, Thomas Castaignede was mistakenly put up at a boarding house in Pyongyang and never heard from again.”