And the Fareham-based former Gosport & Fareham, US Portsmouth and Petersfield representative is relishing in cutting his teeth after spending a season away from the rugby club.

The new-look coaching staff will have the chance to lead Portsmouth from a very different perspective next season, with the club operating in the Counties 1 Hampshire Division – where they will be joined by Havant Dolphins, Gosport & Fareham, Petersfield and Eastleigh between others – following a major overhaul of the RFU league structure from stage three and below.

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Matt Wake has landed a role as one of Portsmouth RFC’s new head coaches for next season Photo: Neil Marshall (171334-19)

And Wake, whose most recent involvement as a club manager was at Petersfield before the coronavirus pandemic, is excited to see where he and fellow head coaches Jones and Roberts can take Portsmouth forward.

‘I knew it was vacant (head coaching role) but I was kind of – I wouldn’t say take advantage of my sabbatical because I missed it – but the phone call came out of nowhere from a representative of the Portsmouth committee asking if I ”d be interested.

“I’ve been really honored to be invited, to be honest, to be part of the rugby community for some time now – it’s a great club – it’s in the domestic leagues, not at the moment, but it was too good of an opportunity to refuse.

“I hadn’t planned on taking on such an important role, I would have been happy enough to do a bit here and there, but it’s a good opportunity, good job, great club and good people. to work.”

This will represent Wake’s first-ever head coaching role with a senior rugby team, but he is not intimidated by the role that awaits him.

And Wake, who is currently in his first year as chairman of Locks Heath Cricket Club – where he also still plays – thinks being able to share the burden of responsibility with his fellow head coaches will be a good thing as Portsmouth look to s establish as a rugby force across the region once again.

He added: “They (the club) are keen not to categorize people by name.” When they phoned me and asked me, it was assumed that I would lead the men’s team with Chris Jones and Dan Roberts.

“It’s that kind of work where you can’t do it alone. I’ve done a lot with Chris before – both at Gosport & Fareham and London Irish (pathway coach).

‘Dan was there last year, he’s someone I can’t wait to work with, new ideas and new ways of doing things. I’ve known Chris for 10 years, we’ve coached a lot together during that time with County, London Irish on Players’ Journeys and Gosport & Fareham, so Chris and I have done a lot together.

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