FORMER Exeter Chiefs captain Tom Hayes is returning to Shannon RFC to take up a coaching role with the club.
Hayes, brother of former Irish international prop John, joins Marcus Horan’s backroom team as line-out/defence coach.
Shannon head coach Marcus Horan said: “I am delighted to welcome Tom back to Shannon as part of our coaching team. Tom's experience and knowledge will add greatly to what we already have and I know that both players and coaches are looking forward to working with him.”
Tom Hayes career began as a prop with Bruff RFC as a 14-year-old, before he joined Shannon.
Hayes won his first Ulster Bank League Division 1 title with Shannon in 2001/02 – the club’s first title since the glory days of the four-in-a-row.
The second row also captained the Parish side to two consecutive All Ireland Leagues in 2003/04 and 2004/05, at a time when the team won the league three out of four years.
Later Hayes moved cross-channel to play with English Championship side Plymouth Albion. The Limerickman played with Plymouth for three years before switching to Exeter Chiefs in 2008.
Hayes natural leadership abilities came to the fore in 2010 when he was appointed Exeter captain. In the same year, he led them out of the Championship and into the Premiership.
He remained on as captain for the next three seasons and over that period also led the club onto its first Heineken Cup appearance playing Leinster in Dublin in their first fixture. In all Hayes played 136 games for the Chiefs.
The Cappamore man was forced to retire from professional rugby in 2013 after a back injury ruled him out of play. He has since moved home with his wife (former Shannon player) Rachel Tucker and their children.