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Pre 2019-20 season update

Old Pats RFC Club House

Almost a month in, here’s how it has gone

By Connor Thompson – Club Captain

With pre-season almost a month in, we asked 1st XV Captain George Angell and Head Coach Chris Downes on their thoughts so far.

George Angell

Reflection on the first 3/4 weeks of pre-season?

Tough. Been great to have ball in hand so much. With a clear aim on improving catch/pass and decision making under fatigue, the sessions have seen good improvements across all players skill sets. The fitness blocks have certainly ensured we are under fatigue too!

Best bits of training?

Conditioned games. It’s a long old season and being able to get the ball in hand with a free pass to express ourselves can be frustrating but when it goes right is so enjoyable.

Lots of Colts joining in – how have they settled in?

Colts have driven standards in a lot of ways. Some of their skill sets have put ours to shame at times! On the other hand they are new to the adult way of rugby and it pushes a lot of senior players to work with those younger boys. It builds a great atmosphere across the teams and age groups. There will definitely be some of those younger lads wearing a 1st XV Jersey in the near future.

How do you feel Chris and Ben have started?

Downesy is no stranger to the club and although he is hugely invested in UOG rugby there’s a real sense that Pats is home for him. Smithy has shown why his full time job is in rugby – attention to detail in the basics of rugby are something a lot of adult players aren’t interested in but he really drives them home. The pair work well together – opposites clearly attract in this case. The boys are really invested in what is being delivered week on week and you cannot fault the passion they show for the cause! Of course Safy being around for the time being is another great asset to the coaching team.

Aim for the next 3/4 weeks?

Personally I think the aim is to incorporate more structure and nail the set piece whilst improving catch/pass even more. With 3 tough pre season games everyone needs to know their role and the next few weeks will be a key time to implement this. The coaches have a clear way which they want us to play and if we can get it right I think we will be one of those teams who looks dangerous every time they touch the ball. I hate playing those sides so it would be great to be one!

Chris Downes

First impressions of The start of pre-season?

Really enjoyable, the guys have worked hard and there have been plenty of smiles so first impressions have been really positive! Happy players are much more open to new ways of doing things and thinking, that makes it a lot easier for us as coaches!

Reflection on the first 3/4 weeks of pre-season?

That we’ve got some really talented players! The core skills are improving already and we can also see real improvements in game awareness and understanding which is great. The boys have taken well to our new coaching team and have made it really welcoming too.

Best bits of training?

The first postcode training up on top of Leckhampton Hill was excellent. The boys worked well in teams to solve puzzles and riddles under fatigue and it was nice to surprise them with a BBQ when they got back to the bottom!

Lots of Colts joining in – how have they settled in?

It’s been great to have the younger guys in and around the senior squad. It’s good for their development and it also keeps the older guys on their toes! It’s important that we create a culture that these guys want to come back to the club when they move away to uni etc and pre-season is a great time to do that.

Aim for the next 3/4 weeks?

Aim is to keep improving the keys skills and game sense. We will naturally start to look at the key components of how we’ll play. We could have the best game plan in the world but if our basics aren’t good enough then it’s irrelevant! We’ve got a couple of decent postcode training sessions up our sleeves too which will be fun!