THE most pleasing aspect of our performance on Sunday afternoon was our fluidity in attack, for the first time in a while we moved the ball with freedom and we was very threatening every time we got possession.
We have been working hard in training on different aspects of our attacking play and our ability to play a slightly off the cuff style certainly helps us and complements our more potent attacking weapons.
Having players returning and in familiar roles no doubt helps us to do this and for the first time since early February we were able to field a settled side with players in key positions who understand the requirements of those specific roles, Jon Wilkin back at 13, James Roby at nine and Gareth O’Brien at seven gives the team a balanced look and allows the rest of us to get on with our jobs.
The only real frustration to come from the game was that we didn’t convert numerous opportunities that we created and that’s something that we will certainly have to improve on in the coming weeks, quite often the last pass went astray or a poor handling error stopped our momentum and later in the season when chances become fewer we will need to be more ruthless.
That said I’m confident we will make those improvements and there are visible signs in and around the training camp that confidence has returned and we are looking forward to continuing our improvement.
It was great to have Jonny Lomax returning from injury also, Jonny has had a really frustrating number of weeks overcoming injury but hopefully now he has put all that behind him and there is no doubt he is a great asset when he’s in the team. Within the squad Jonny is noted for being the last to arrive, whether that’s for a training session or a team meeting and its a fair bet that he will come trotting in with a few seconds to spare much to the frustration of the boys but I suppose that’s a small price for us to pay to have him back in the team and playing well.
l THIS weekend we have no game as its the annual international fixture between England and the Exiles, I’m looking forward to this game and it will give an indication on how the national team will shape up at the World Cup later in the year.
Obviously the national team are missing the NRL contingent but nevertheless can field a very strong team. We have James Roby as our only England representative and Tony Puletua, Lance Hohaia, Sia Soliola and Willie Manu representing the Exiles, I would like to wish all these guys the best for the contest and hope they return to us next week in good health.
l OVER the last few weeks I’ve returned to school alongside my team mates Mark Flanaghan and Jon Wilkin, we are studying a Business in Sport Diploma at Turf Moor, the home of Burnley FC that is run by Mark’s father Terry Flanaghan.
Recently within the game the has been a huge push to get players to invest in their futures and prepare for a life after rugby and I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed being back in the classroom. Wilko has elevated himself to the top of the class, not by hard work but by quite simply supplying the lunch from his sandwich shop and Mark is in a pretty good place with his Dad being the tutor so it looks like I’m going to have to up my game in the next few weeks.
Joking aside though, the message for any young player starting out in Rugby or any other sport is that its a relatively short career and its important that you have something else to do either if rugby doesn’t work out or for when retirement from playing comes along. Unfortunately its not like football with astronomical wages and I don’t know any RL player that has been able to retire and not have to work again, its a sport that carries a lot of uncertainty and its important that we are prepared as early as possible to deal with any eventuality.
Quote of the Week: Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
Come on you Saints - Wello