Rugby Union: Paddy Ryan appointed Country Eagles captain for 2017

Honoured: Tamworth product Paddy Ryan will captain the Country Eagles in their 2017 National Rugby Championship campaign.

Honoured: Tamworth product Paddy Ryan will captain the Country Eagles in their 2017 National Rugby Championship campaign.

Paddy Ryan will lead the Country Eagles in their 2017 National Rugby Championship campaign.

The Tamworth product was confirmed as the Eagles skipper this week, as the 2016 runners-up announced their coaching and support staff.

Handed the captaincy last year, Ryan was one of Eagles’ best as they finished minor premiers.

It will be a largely untouched group pulling the strings behind the scenes, the only significant change being the appointment of former Wallaby prop Andrew Blades as general manager.

Blades will also support head coach Darren Coleman as forwards coach.

Currently in the middle of a successful first season with Warringah in the NSW Shute Shield, Coleman has coached the Eagles since their inception and turned them into one of the most successful franchises in the competition.

He’ll be assisted by Shannon Fraser as defence coach and former Scottish international Dan Parks as attack coach.

A passionate advocate for country rugby, Ryan was a special guest at last week’s Camp Wallaby in Armidale.

“I think it’s really important just to give back to the country rugby community as a whole,” Ryan told the Armidale Express.

“I think it’s (country) a real force in the rugby community in general.”

Ryan also spoke about how he is looking forward to returning to Armidale with the Eagles later in the year.

They will play the Canberra Vikings in Armidale on September 23.

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