Headhunting Over For Bristol Bisons

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Bristol Bisons RFC appoint Sasha Acheson as Head Coach

Sasha Acheson has agreed to join the Bristol Bisons as Head Coach from May 2021.

Sasha currently coaches the England Fire Service Forwards, and has previously done lots of guest coaching including with the Cornish Pirates, London Irish and Bristol Rugby on their various community programmes, and as an Athlete Ambassador for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, coaching and mentoring people using the medium of sport.

Setting up a summer camp for aspiring females in the Bristol area – Breaking Boundaries – was a key coaching highlight for Sasha as she created a programme which meant aspiring young women could meet their heroes, be coached by them, and gain an insight into the lives of elite athletes.

Sasha has a formidable on-field history too, including being picked to play for England Women. Amongst her favourite games were her first cap against France at Twickenham, and playing against Canada at the Stoop.

Following a brutal knee injury, Sasha battled back and a few years later, was once again selected for the England Squad and also in 2019, selected for the Barbarians, playing against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. A huge achievement, and playing along side phenomenal players from all around the world. “It was an incredible week of rugby, finished with the best result of seeing my friends and family in the stand. It was also my last game of rugby, finishing on the highest of highs. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Sasha is really clear though: “I wouldn’t have achieved what I did without the teammates I had around me, and the coaches who completely inspired me, keeping me accountable and also being my family. Creating a team environment where we celebrate each others successes is something I am very passionate about.”

What are your first impressions of the Bisons?

The Bisons represent something so much bigger than rugby, and that is shown through the diversity they have as a squad. The guys are brilliant and the sense of community is something I wholeheartedly respect, admire and want to be a part of.

As rugby players they have flare and desire, and they don’t want to be confined to their labels: they want to be just who they are, and play a sport they love. These are several things which really resonate with me.

What are you excited about as a coach with the Bisons?

The Bisons are raw talent. I’m excited to share my knowledge and empower them to be the best they can be in all areas. I really excelled as a player when having coaches who empowered me and believed in me, who instilled the “work hard, play hard” ethos. I’m excited to give the Bisons the tools to be an unbelievable rugby team, and be a real threat in the IGR League.

What does life look for you away from rugby?

Away from Rugby I work as a full time Firefighter, have my own business as a Gas Engineer, and in my spare time (what spare time … I have 2 dogs, and gorgeous 10 week old baby girl with my incredible partner!) I really enjoy my new output; Crossfit. Girls busy…work hard play hard right? 🔥

Regarding Sasha’s appointment, Bisons Chairperson Donald Calcott said: “we are so incredibly pleased that Sasha has agreed to join us , and are very excited to welcome Sasha to our herd. Sasha brings so much experience to a team with great enthusiasm, and we are hungry to learn more and continue to develop and achieve more and more.

Over the 16 year history of the Bisons, we have grown from a handful of players to a team of over 70 players, have moved quickly from the wrong end of the European league tables in 2015 and 2017, to being in the top 10 in 2019, but throughout that time have offered a space space for people to enjoy rugby in Bristol and the surrounding areas.

I know that Sasha has some great ideas for how our Club can continue to develop, and very much look forward to supporting her and the Team as we continue on that exciting path.”