Vikings make changes to rugby department

Widnes have made two significant appointments in recent weeks to the rugby department ahead of pre-season and the 2022 campaign.

Ryan O’Brien has been promoted to a newly created position of Performance Manager and Bob Beswick has been recruited as the lead Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Both roles are of strategic significance in the change that is sought at the club in order to bring the very best out of the newly assembled 2022 playing squad.  

We are uniquely positioned with the facilities we have access to and the part-time status of the players to create a staffing structure that aims to ensure we have the best possible environment for our players to develop in.  

The newly created Performance Manager role will see Ryan working alongside with Head Coach Simon Finnigan in a collaborative manner. This role will ensure that there is strategic alignment between medical, strength and conditioning, performance analysis and rugby coaching to enable players to work in an environment conducive to their continued development.  

Ryan will lead and manage the staff to develop and implement holistic programmes in an aim to ensure all individual performance levels are progressing to enhance the collective development of our team.

It is imperative that we retain not only our best performing and players with the most potential but we also do this with our staff too.  Ryan has been involved in the club since 2010, progressing from a scholarship player through to Head of Youth Performance and most recently Assistant First Team Coach.  Throughout his time at the club, Ryan has been involved in the identification, development and progression of numerous players including a significant number of our current first-team squad.  

Ryan has a lot of experience, knowledge and skills gained from his time as a Head of Youth Performance in the strategic management and leadership of performance programmes, this experience coupled with his first class honours degree in Sport Science from LJMU and his current MBA studies make him an ideal person to drive the change needed to strive for improved performance.

On his promotion to his new role, Ryan said: “I’m excited to take on this new role. Everything is in place here to succeed – our training facilities are outstanding and we have a really committed group of players and staff. I’m looking forward to working with everyone to ensure that the club realises its potential.”

Bob has been appointed to lead the strength and conditioning at the club as we aim to ensure that players are as well prepared as they can be physically for the rigours of the season ahead.  Bob has already gained a wealth of experience and qualifications in strength and conditioning and can combine this with his comprehensive understanding of players and the culture from his vast experience as a player.

Bob has worked in both full-time and part-time environments in a strength and conditioning capacity and understands the constraints and challenges of working with part time players alongside their work schedules making him an ideal person to work with Ryan to create the best environment we can.

Uniquely, Bob alongside his playing career has educated himself to a high degree and sought out and gained practical experience which was a major determinant in recruiting him for this role.  Bob’s education, experience and work ethic make him a very important member of staff in seeking to create a challenging and productive environment for players and staff alike.

On rejoining Widnes in his new role, Bob said: “I’m really excited to be joining Widnes Vikings and contributing to the great work Simon (Finnigan) and Ryan (O’Brien) are doing onfield. There is a young and enthusiastic group of players that want to get better and I can’t wait to get going.”

The staff changes come as the new-look Vikings squad get ready for the 2022 season after returning to training last week.

Supporters can look forward to hearing from both Bob and Ryan in interviews over the weekend.

Make sure you’re there to see Widnes for every game of the new season by securing your South Stand 2022 Season Tickets now. All other seats will go on sale on Thursday 11th November.