Following the departure of Scott Sneddon in November 2022 – to join Scarlets as their Transition Head Coach – Webdale stepped in as interim Head Coach for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, having previously been a Performance Coach within the programme.
When Webdale took over as interim Head Coach, Loughborough sat 3rd in BUCS Super Rugby and 9th in National League 2. At the conclusion of the season, Loughborough were crowned BUCS Super Rugby League Champions for the first time in the club’s history and finished 6th in National League 2 West.
Martin then guided the side to its first-ever BUCS Super Rugby National Championship Final at the StoneX Stadium on April 19, 2023, against Exeter University.
In what was described as “the greatest game university rugby has ever seen” the scores were level 41-41 at full time after a late try from Loughborough brought them back level. In an unprecedented extra-time battle, Loughborough came up just short, losing 48-44, but gave an excellent account of themselves in a historic night for the club.
Prior to joining Loughborough as a performance coach, Martin spent 14 years in education as a PE teacher, including being Head of Department and Director of Sport. Alongside this, he coached at numerous clubs, including Hull RUFC for 7 seasons in National 2 North, during which he came up against Loughborough Students.
When asked about the role Martin said: “It has always been an ambition of mine to coach at higher education level and the opportunity to lead a programme in a university as prestigious as Loughborough with its heritage and the way that it has helped shape the game of rugby across the years, was one not to be missed.
“I am excited to take the head coach baton from Scott Sneddon who I learned so much from. I want to build on the foundations that have been laid by him, someone who I thoroughly enjoyed working with for a season and a half.
“We have achieved a level of success this season that the university rugby programme has not seen in a number of years. The job now is to ensure that successes continue and that we keep having a positive impact on young players’ rugby journeys – not just across our performance teams in BUCS Super Rugby and National League 2 West, but across the entire club.
“We have an outstanding coaching group which I am privileged to lead alongside experts in Physiotherapy, Strength & Conditioning and Performance Analysis, which helps make this programme sector leading.
“I would also like to thank Rhys Edwards (Director of Rugby) for his vision to help shape the future direction of the programme.”
Rhys Edwards added: “Martin has been involved in the performance programme for the last two seasons and has built an impressive reputation as a forward coach within BUCS Super Rugby (BSR). Martin subsequently took the reigns of head coach in the interim following a change in November and has steered us to our best finish in BSR as well as a strong finish in National League.
“Martin was equally impressive in the interview process, and I am pleased that we are appointing Martin into the Head Coach role. Alongside a formidable coaching team, I’m excited that we can continue to grow as a programme and compete for BSR titles regularly.”
For more information on rugby union at Loughborough University, visit: www.lboro.ac.uk/sport/sports/rugby-union/