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Ealing Trailfinders player to also coach rival team playing in Championship at same time

Craig Hampson in action for Ealing
Craig Hampson was a member of the Ealing squad that won the Championship - Shutterstock/Garry Bowden

Next season’s Championship will feature a player coaching one club and playing for another after an agreement was reached for Craig Hampson to continue as a scrum-half with Ealing Trailfinders and as a member of Chinnor’s backroom team.

Hampson was attack coach at Chinnor and, alongside director of rugby Nick Easter, the 33-year-old led the Oxfordshire club to the 2023/24 National 1 title and promotion to the Championship for the first time.

In the same season, however, Hampson was a member of the Ealing squad which won the Championship and started at scrum-half in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final defeat to Leicester Tigers at Vallis Way. Hampson is also the head coach of the under-18’s elite player pathway at Ealing.

The former Wasps scrum-half has a year remaining on his contract with Trailfinders – who were not eligible for Premiership promotion after failing to meet minimum standards criteria – but will continue next season in a downgraded role at Chinnor, working as a backs’ skills coach once a week. Telegraph Sport understands that in the week leading up to a fixture between the two sides, it has been agreed that Hampson will not have any contact with anyone at Chinnor. “He is doing his Level 4 coaching qualification and progressing well so it helps him achieve this,” added a source.

Hampson told The Rugby Paper: “Both clubs have agreed it is fine for me to carry on coaching, obviously Ealing being my primary job. I have to be available for selection against [Chinnor] – it’s unlikely I would be picked, I’d imagine – but I can’t coach against Ealing that week. It’s fine every other week, just not that week.
 
“I think it kind of helps Ealing a bit because I think we’re going to have a few lads on loan, a bit like Cov and Pirates have had this year from us.

“It helps develop me as a coach and who knows if Ealing want me to coach later on.”

Telegraph Sport has approached the Rugby Football Union for comment.

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