“Just to get an interview there was mind-blowing!” USW’s Foard Cooksley secures place at Millfield School

Pic by Richard Early

by Dylan James

24 year-old Foard Cooksley has enjoyed quite the rugby career despite his young age, and seems to have taken another step towards a very bright future. 

Hailing from Port Talbot in South Wales, Foard has just secured a place as a rugby intern at a leading British private school, Millfield.

“Millfield is one of the most prolific and famous schools in the world, not just in England, so just to get an interview there was mind blowing. A boy from Port Talbot getting an interview at one of the most famous schools in the world!”

Despite his impressive rugby CV, coaching with Swansea University and Pontypridd Schools, to name just two, Cooksley understands just how big the step is, and has already been putting in the groundwork ready for his new coaching venture.

“I’m excited, and going into the unknown, so I’ve tried to keep learning about the differences between English and Welsh rugby, because there is quite a bit.”

“It’ll be a new environment, living away from home,it’s going to be exciting, I’m going to be nervous, but I can’t wait to start in September!”

USW has played a big role in Foard’s story so far, with coaching and playing roles during his time there, so he will be bringing his skills and experiences with him to Millfield.

“Dean Parsons, Ben Daniels and Tom Cole have been absolutely outstanding for me. They show you different aspects of rugby, it gives you a real insight into what it is like to be a coach. I will be forever grateful to those involved.”

“I’ve obtained a good mentorship. The people who I’ve mentioned have been good mentors to me, they have given me a chance to be a good man-manager.

“I’ve also learnt to be organised, you have to be organised as a coach, I noticed that in my first year, especially with assignments.”

Foard also explained that it was the team at the Sport Park on the whole that helped him too.

“Steve Savage was superb, Hugh Wilcox too, these are good people and they make your experience a lot better, they have really pushed me into the right pathway.”

Respect and control are huge factors in coaching, Foard believes, skills that he’ll be bringing with him from USW to Millfield.

“You need to have the aura and the presence to control a group, which is massive, once you get control of a group, they will buy into anything you want to do.”

“The biggest thing is having respect for the people that you’re working with, and not only that, but the respect coming back your way too, that makes a good team.”

Now at the end of his journey at the University of South Wales, Foard gave his advice to any future students going into coaching.

“Be true to yourself and always back your philosophy.”

“Don’t walk into a room thinking you know it all. I could walk into a room full of first year coaches and there will be people there who know more than me, and I will know more than someone else in there. Try new things and be respectful of people.”