Fox and his Lions celebrate a famous Twickenham triumph

Sam Crooks with his coach Darren Fox. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Sam Crooks with his coach Darren Fox. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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Darren Fox was one of Peterborough’s finest rugby players, starring for Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues for over a decade.

Now, following retirement, he’s also carving out a pretty impressive career as a coach.

In his first two seasons in charge of Peterborough Lions he’s twice taken the city club to within sniffing distance of promotion.

And on Sunday he added another feather to his cap when East Midlands claimed their first ever County Championship Division Two Plate title following a 33-27 triumph over Kent at Twickenham.

Fox was part of the coaching set-up and there were also five of his Lions players in the squad that helped create a piece of East Midlands history.

They were Will Carrington, Sam Crooks, Del Veenendaaal and Adam Barnard, who all started the game, and Tom Lewis, who came on as a second-half substitute. Crooks was a try-scorer.

“It was a great day for me, for the Lions and for East Midlands rugby. I was proud to be a part of it,” said Fox.

“The boys performed really, really well against a tough, physical Kent team and I’m so pleased for them all.

“And what a journey it’s been for Sam and Tom. They were playing at a much lower level last season. It proves that’s Sam’s decision to join us from Borough was justified. It was a big call for him to make and clearly the correct one.

“For me working with a head coach of the calibre of Paul Turner from Ampthill was inspirational. I also got the opportunity to work with Tongan internationals and that was a fantastic experience. I learned so much.”

Maama Molitika was one of the Tongans in the East Midlands side and he crossed the whitewash three times.

All three of his tries came from driving mauls from a lineout thanks to accurate throwing in by fellow countryman Aleki Lutui, capped 38 times by Tonga.