Ian ‘Dosser’ Smith has crossed Rutland to join Uppingham School from Oakham School as a part-time Senior Rugby Coach.
After almost 30 years with Uppingham’s closest rivals Oakham, who won the 2023 U18 Continental Tyres Schools Cup alongside Director of Rugby Andy Rice, the school’s third during his time there, the former Leicester Tigers captain and coach will move to Uppingham as a key part of the coaching team beneath Director of Rugby Dr Andrew Hall, who joined the school last year.
Following on from a playing career with Leicester Tigers that stretched from 1977 to 1991, where he also captained the side in the mid-80s and won three John Player Cup Finals and the inaugural League Championship, Smith moved into coaching with the club, helping them to the Pilkington Cup and a further league title.
From there England Students and England U19 coaching stints followed as he moved into education and Oakham in 1995 (alongside ongoing roles with Tigers), with whom he won those three Continental Tyres Schools Cups and at the turn of the century worked alongside Charles Welch, who is among the current Uppingham coaching staff as well. Over the course of his career Smith has coached 30 British and Irish Lions, including at Oakham Lewis Moody, Tom Croft, and Hamish Watson.
It is a significant coup for Uppingham, whose rugby has struggled to reach the heights of the late 90s and early 00s that they enjoyed under the watchful eye of Neil Gutteridge and Peter Green (now Executive Headmaster at Rugby School). The hope will surely be that with Hall leading and the likes of Smith and Welch working within the programme that Uppingham will start to shine on the field again.
On the school website announcing the appointment of Smith, Uppingham’s Assistant head of Co-Curricular, Dr Kyi Muller reflected that sign of new ambition, saying: “I am delighted that Ian Smith will be joining our sports department this summer as a Senior Rugby Coach. He has had an outstanding career, both as a player and a coach, and will enrich our ambitious rugby programme.
“Ian will play a central role in the development of our senior rugby squad (1st XV and Sevens), as well as supporting our sporting outreach initiatives.”
Smith himself meanwhile showed his excitement for the role ahead, saying: “I am so pleased to accept the invitation to join Andrew Hall’s team and to work with Charles Welch again. I am really looking forward to returning to Uppingham and their sports department. I can’t wait to get underway in this new role, and to support the department in their desire to provide the best possible rugby programme for their pupils.”