NEW Melksham RFC head coach Chris Chudleigh believes promotion is well within reach during his first season at the helm, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

The former Sale Sharks man and head coach on Sky Sports’ ‘School of Hard Knocks’ programme was lured to the club by coaching coordinator Jeremy Flower after re-joining the army and being posted to Warminster.

Impressed by the infrastructure and facilities at Melksham, Chudleigh felt confident his coaching skills would enhance the playing side and take the club forward.

Melksham finished in the top three of their league, Dorset & Wilts One North, at the end of last season and Chudleigh is confident that with a little bit of fine tuning to the squad, they could be celebrating promotion come next May.

He said: “It’s a very healthy club. In my previous coaching roles, a lot of the time I have gone into clubs that are really struggling and I’ve had a massive job on my hands.

“Whereas here, the start point is that much more advanced. We could do some good things and I’m quite excited about that.

“They finished third last season, which is obviously very good, so with a little bit of development, getting promoted isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

“We want to find a level where we’re playing the best rugby that we can be without overstretching our resources.

“And if that’s in the league we’re in now, then that’s fine.

“Personally, I think it could be in the league above or maybe even two leagues above. But that’s for next season or the season after.”

Chudleigh has coached all over the world since an injury forced him to stop playing at the age of 29, training teams in the US, Spain and Latvia as well as becoming the director of rugby at the University of Liverpool.

His wealth of knowledge and experience was a huge factor in Melksham deciding to offer him the job, according to coaching coordinator Flower, and the new head coach is excited to welcome new players to the club, but only if they have a desire to improve.

Chudleigh said: “Anyone who wants to improve themselves as a rugby player from whatever level they have played at, we’d like them to come along.

“In terms of rugby coaching, that’s where my speciality lies.

"I’ve always worked in developing players to go on to play at bigger clubs, whether it be at Sale Sharks or guys who were playing university level, playing for England students and then getting their first step on the ladder with professional contracts.

“I know I will make people better players, so in any position, if you’re ambitious, then we’re a good club to come to.”