Backroom Staff

Tim Rumford – Head Coach

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Tim Rumford was previously Head of the Castleford Tigers Academy helping the progress of home-grown talent such as Adam Milner, Daryl Clarke, Ryan Brierley, Jonny Walker and Oliver Holmes, through the ranks to the Castleford Tigers first team.

Rumford has built his coaching pedigree within the academy system, winning admirers for his structured approach to the development of players in the youth set-up. Tim also gained experience as assistant coach at Gateshead Thunder and as Head Coach at Heworth ARL. Tim’s playing career began with amateur club Castleford Lock Lane, a club renowned for producing talented players that progress through to the professional ranks. Rumford did this with  spells in the Castleford RL Alliance team and then at York Wasps and Hunslet.


Chris Baxter – Assistant Coach

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Chris is an experienced development officer and coach, having worked across all age groups in rugby league, coaching players of different abilities.

He is a forward thinking individual who is open to further his experience and career development for the benefit of all in coaching.  Positive, enthusiastic, honest and personable are words that sum up his character.

Chris is a highly qualified coach with L1, L2 and L3 rugby league qualifications along with being a qualified rugby league referee, with L1 and rugby union level 1 and 2 certification as well.

Above all he is an exemplary professional with good communication skills that have been developed with over 10 years’ involvement in sports development and coaching.

For the last 7 years, Chris has been Head Coach of U13s, U14s, U15s and U16s scholarship teams at London Broncos and from 2013 to 2015 at Broncos as Assistant Coach to the under 19s and under 20s Super League Academy squads.

He has also held positions for Rugby Football League England/Great Britain U18’s Performance Coach (2007- 2013). This included being assistant and head coach for district, regional and national performance programmes for players between the ages of 13 and 18, as well as touring with the U18s Community Lions in South Africa, France and Lebanon.


Gary Dunn – Assistant Coach

Gary is a positive leader with a can do attitude and continues the strong links the Blues have with the RAF in Oxfordshire.

He originates from Leigh and is a product of the famous Leigh Miners Rangers amateur club, playing through the club’s junior and youth teams to the senior first team. This led on to representative honours in his teens with Leigh Town, St Helens Town and Lancashire before a short spell training with St Helens academy.

In 1999 Gary joined the RAF and with rugby league in his blood he subsequently played at all levels of military rugby through to proudly representing the GB Forces international team. He’s also honoured to say he was part of the winning team in the inaugural Armed Forces World Cup against the Australian Defence Forces.

Highlights continued in 2008 by playing at Sydney Football Stadium as a curtain raiser to Australia v Fiji in the RL World Cup semi final. Again in 2015 he was part of the GB Forces team that narrowly lost to the Australia Defence Forces at Suncorp Stadium as a curtain raiser to the 2015 State of Origin decider.

Gary’s leadership and communication skills are evident and hence his move into the coaching role is a natural progression. He has coached various military station teams which has led to his appointment of head coach of the RAF RL first team. Gary has a hunger to learn and develop his coaching ability and being based at Brize Norton enables him to pursue that desire within the Blues camp and add valuable knowledge to the coaching team.


Ryan Cousins – General Manager Rugby League Inspires

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Ryan Cousins joined the club as Media Manager in October 2012 becoming one of the first off field staff recruitments. Ryan graduated with a BA Marketing degree from Northampton University and has held various roles at Barclaycard since joining the company in 2006.

Out of his day job Ryan was heavily involved within women’s rugby union in East Midlands up until 2012, promoting and furthering the game along with coaching of the University of Northampton’s women’s rugby union team. In 2012 he took on a role with Northampton Demons where he looked after the Media for the club and sat on the committee to ensure the smooth running of the club.

Ryan’s main roles at Oxford RL include press releases, planning the club’s news output to achieve maximum impact and exposure, the match day programme writing and editing, producing the match reports and expanding the club’s social media output.

During the off season in October 2013, Ryan was appointed to handle two roles at the Rugby League World Cup. Firstly as Social Media Journalist and secondly as Venue Media Assistant. Ryan executed these key roles at the opening ceremony of the tournament and at games at Huddersfield, Hull and Halifax.

In what spare time he has, he enjoys watching Wigan Warriors and London Broncos. His most memorable moment was being present at both the Challenge Cup final and Grand Final in 2013 where he saw his side Wigan pick up the double.


Steve Jones – Team Manager

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Steve is a born and bred Warrington lad, so Rugby League has been part of his life from an early age. His mum and dad had watched “Wire” from their courting days and were mesmerised by the likes of Brian Bevan and friends.

In Steve’s youth, he spent many years walking to Wilderspool and watching mud fights between Mike Nicholas and big Jim Mills of Widnes and from this, strangely, he learned the true meaning of “respect”!

In his teens Steve was a competitive swimmer following a tough training regime that involved demanding self discipline. Combining the respect learnt from his parents and Rugby League  stood Steve in good stead in the years to come.

Steve left Lancashire and moved down to Witney in 1985 to take up a management position and met the Oxfordshire girl of his dreams who became his wife and they now have two daughters and four grandchildren!

Steve is also a proud volunteer for the “Meningitis Now” charity. He sadly lost a daughter to the disease and the charity was there for him and his family. Being the man that he is, Steve tries to give something back to the charity. In Steve’s words “I like to think that the trauma of the loss has made me a better person.”

Steve has supported Oxford Rugby League from day one and has stepped in and been proud to help out on several occasions. He also had the honour of being the club’s flag bearer on the pitch at Wembley in the build up to the 2014 Challenge Cup Final.

Taking up the Team Manager’s role Steve said “I believe that my life and work experiences will contribute to repaying ORL for the faith they have shown in me and I will be doing all I can to support the players and staff in my role.”


Clair Woolford – Physiotherapist BSc AACP CSP

Clair joined the backroom staff at Oxford RL earlier in 2016 and has become the clubs lead Physio and an integral part of the team. She qualified with a BSc degree in Physiotherapy from Keele University in 2010 and quickly got involved in sport injury rehabilitation and pitch side injury management for a local rugby club in West Oxfordshire.

She has completed further training, gaining qualifications to practice acupuncture, sports massage and strapping/taping and also holds a full time job as a senior physiotherapist for the community therapy service in West Oxfordshire. This includes rehabilitation for patients with neurological, musculoskeletal and long term disabilities.

Clair said “I am excited to be a part of ORL team and to assist in the management of acute injuries and provide specific rehabilitation programmes for the athletes and players. It’s my first season working within rugby league and it’s a demanding physical sport and its great working with the staff at the club.”

In Clair’s spare time she plays netball for Brize netball club and enjoys keeping fit. Clair has a can do attitude and loves a challenge and trying new things! She’s currently learning to become a pilates instructor so she can incorporate the important basic stretching/strengthening techniques into the players rehabilitation programmes.


Rick Aben – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Rick is very positive, hard-working and ambitious Strength & Conditioning coach.

The last two years he has worked with the scholarship and academy set-up at the Castleford Tigers. He is currently studying a part-time Masters degree in S&C so his whole life pretty much resolves around those 2 magic letters. A Dutchman by birth who admires rugby league and informs us that good steps are being made to establish the game in the Netherlands with a national side emerging.

What is key to Rick’s work ethic? Discipline, communication and honesty are important for him. He gives a lot of responsibility to players as he believes it is important for them to take ownership to improve as long as they do not abuse it.


Zaid Alem – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Zaid joins the Blues backroom staff as part of the Strength & Conditioning team.

He is a Reps level 3 fitness coach who has also obtained level 2 qualifications in sports injuries and massage therapy. He has gained a vast amount of experience as an intern at Oxford Brookes Sports performance along with studying for a BSc in Sports Science (Strength and Conditioning).

Zaid’s sporting background includes participating in boxing, Muay Thai, football and cricket as well as Olympic lifting. He likes to socialise when time allows and is equally keen on keeping fit. In any down time, you will find Zaid reading up on functional movement and mobility in sports science.


Ozzy Hicks – Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist

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Ozzy Hicks joins the club as a Medical Assistant. He joined the RAF in March 1987 as an electrician and after that he changed to become a loadmaster on the Hercules C130J in 2001. Whilst in the RAF he has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, the Falklands and Macedonia.

Ozzy has played Rugby League for the RAF since 1994 as well as for the combined services between 1996 and 2001. He has also held coaching badges between 1995 and 1999 and qualified for sports taping in May 2009, along with sports massage and remedial therapy in Dec 2011.

In his spare time he enjoys running, weight training, vegetable gardening and DIY. His rugby league team is Warrington Wolves and his most memorable moment was marching the Grand Final trophy out onto the pitch at Old Trafford in October 2011.


Jake Kennett – FdSc Sports Therapist

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Jake become part of the club family, after joining in June 2013, to gain work experience as part of his Science in Sports Therapy degree at Northampton University Moulton College and stayed with us ever since! He is currently studying for his BSc Science in Sports Therapy.

Jake is a passionate martial artist, a black belt 2nd Dan in Shotokan Karate and trains and instructs with the Oxfordshire School of Traditional Martial Arts. He is also a blue belt two stripe in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and regularly competes in competitions nationally and in the British Open.

Sport is his passion and he is a big snowboarding fan and of course Rugby League and Union fit into his wide appreciation of physical sport.

Jake’s not only a Sports Therapist, he is also a trained Sports Masseur and a qualified Gym based Fitness Instructor (QCF) so he’s well placed to treat any sports injury and aid fully in rehab of players back to full fitness!

Jake is a true multi-tasker of the team, whether to be on hand to offer sports massage, sports therapy hands on treatment, rehab programmes and dynamic strapping and taping.

In short, Jake is a vital cog in Oxford’s backroom team. He turns his hand to whatever the team requires, be it setting up the kit on match days, water carrier or organisation. Jake is the first one to be onsite and last to leave.


Colin Lenton – Kit Man

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Rugby League produces gentlemen and characters and Colin embodies those traits to the full!

He has long been a resident in Oxfordshire but this knowledgeable gent started his rugby league back in the 1960’s when he watched St Helens play as a young lad, while he played for the famous amateur team, Blackbrook RL who have produced many professional players for the game. Colin’s family were heavily involved with running Blackbrook club, hence rugby league is in his blood. He later played for Swinton RLFC in the days of heavy pitches and even heavier no nonsense forwards!

Colin is no stranger to the Blues set up, as last season he took up the team manager role for the Oxford Cavaliers  and has been a positive, supportive  presence to all staff and players alike. Colin is a huge fan of rugby league, a proud grandfather and delighted to now be involved with Oxford RL to share his enthusiasm and his passion for the game and helping the club grow.


Tim Griffiths – Match Day Manager

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Tim is the club’s match day announcer as well as match day manager.

He works as an Underwriter for Zurich Corporate Risk, along with being Woking FC’s PA Announcer.

Tim first got into Rugby League whilst studying at Hull University and ended up supporting Hull KR. He is a former player for Sussex Merlins RLFC.

In his spare time Tim is a Radio Producer and Presenter for Brooklands Radio in North Surrey. A keen Volleyball Player as well as Coach and Media Officer for Ashcombe Volleyball Club, Tim regularly writes for the national Volleyball magazine 3Touch and what ever time he has left he supports Brentford FC going to Griffin Park whenever he can.


Analysts Team

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We have a team of 3 analysts working with our match day team to video the games and provide stats to the coaching team and feedback to the players.

Samson Earle

Past Experiences: Player at Andover RFC & Oxford Brookes RFC. Worked as a community coach for Hampshire RFU & London Welsh RFC

Sam says “It is a great opportunity to work with a professional club that seems to be going places. Hopefully the information that we can provide the coaches and players with, will help them improve and move the club forwards.”

Ali Lawrance

Past Experiences: Coaching young children’s rugby union and other sports from the age of 4 – 15.

Ali said “I  am looking forward to working this season towards helping the club improve through providing feedback to the coaches on the match through the stats we gather from analysing the match.”

Mikey Bowerman

Mikey says “I was thrilled last season to be given the opportunity to become a performance analyst at Oxford as it has allowed me to branch out and take on a new challenge in sport. It is a really exciting feeling to be part of Oxford RL and I look forward to working with both the staff and the players.”


Oliver Smith – Website Manager

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Still hanging onto the mantle of one of the youngest members of Oxford RL’s backroom staff and now operating from Newcastle University, Oli continues using his skills in the digital and media departments with content administration of the clubs website and social media.

His normal match day and pitch side presence is going to be limited due to his study and degree commitments in Newcastle. However, he remains a dedicated staff member and hopes to be able to make a number of matches through the season.

Oliver will continue to work closely with all the back room team but prominently with team manager Steve Jones and RLI General Manager Ryan Cousins.