Outside interest: coordinating rugby

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 22 Jun 2016

 Owen Francis When associate director Owen Francis isn't working at planning practice Boyer he is helping to run Nelson Rugby Football Club, a small village team 15 miles north of Cardiff.

How did you get into rugby?

I was born and brought up in the village of Nelson and have been part of the rugby club since the age of 15 – I'm now 35. After work stints in Bristol and Guildford I moved back home eight years ago and friends said I should become involved in the club again, so I did.

What does it involve?

I don't play but I coach and help co-ordinate the club through things like committee meetings, which we have every Monday evening, or managing events, refereeing and making sure facilities are good to make the club attractive for new people to join. I also arrange a county touch rugby challenge, which I helped start three years ago. Every Wednesday night we have mixed teams training, where players must be 13 or older and teams must have two girls in the starting line up.

Why do you do it?

Like other parts of the South Wales valleys, our rugby club is the heart of the community and a big focus for the village, which is why I get involved. There's not always a lot for kids to do, so my work is giving something back to my home community. I have also made a lot of friends along the way.

What’s the toughest thing about it?

The toughest challenge is also the most enjoyable: it's the variety; you have to do a bit of everything, which takes up a lot of time. Time management, therefore, and the ability to juggle lots of balls while holding down the day job can be difficult.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

I really enjoy working with kids and youngsters, giving them somewhere to come and the chance to enjoy sport.

Are there any similarities between your day job and rugby?

The need to manage workloads and a team – while being part of a team – is common to rugby and planning. You also have to make rugby attractive and get people to come back, which involves consulting and making balanced decisions that aren't necessarily what you want. That is exactly what we do as planners.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com