For much of last season there was at times a fairly lively debate over the apparent lack of match practice endured by those players not selected for the match day squads. It was a concern for many supporters, especially with what was a much larger squad than we have this season…
So when I saw the team announcement and read comment from JW that:
Sam Harry, Alex Smit and Dan Rundle will be involved with Wasps in the A League game against Bath at Broadstreet on Monday night. This is an opportunity for them to get game time, and we are looking forward to working with Wasps as and when they require players while exploring opportunities for their players to get game time on dual registration with us to help our league campaign when required.
I was really pleased…all three players had a good pre-season, will be part of Cov’s National 1 campaign over the coming months and need to be playing to ensure they are ready for the call as and when it comes. Obviously, with the likes of Dan in particular, you kind of hope it’s sooner rather than later but that’s about loyalty to Dan and a belief that in the long term he’s a better bet than James Pritchard out on the wing…but for the time being JP has the shirt and it would be churlish to knock any decisions about selection when Cov score 8 tries and win by 40 points in their opening game of the season…
The Wasps link is one that might upset one or two supporters, but I’m guessing more will be supportive than critical. The first thing to welcome about it is that it was ‘announced’ in the first placed… last season it might just have happened with no official statement from the club, the news filtering down to the messageboard via a secondary, or more likely, tertiary source.
The fact that the ‘Team selection’ posts on the website have already become weekly updates on player news is a real positive for me. I was the first to have a pop at the club for not keeping supporters informed about what was happening on a player front last season, so it’s only right that I should recognise the progress that has been made in only a few weeks under the new management.
I know one of my many faults is that I’m somewhat anally retentive at times and attention to detail is a bit of an obsession. But sometimes it reaps it’s rewards…back in May at the first Supporters’ Club meeting, Rowland Winter was specifically asked the question from the audience as to whether Cov would be looking to develop links with Wasps. This is what I wrote in the post the next day…
Are there any planned links with Wasps? RW – in short no, but this is partly because the Academy remains in NW London. There is a hope that once it becomes established in the Coventry area something more positive will come about. Wasps originally made all sorts of promises but nothing has come of them so far. RW is against DRs in principle, he has better players in his own squad than many of the 19/20 year olds who would be made available. However, RW had had several talks with Matt Davies and once the Academy is in Coventry, Cov should embrace it, but only when they need to.
So in fairness, yesterday’s announcement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. I’m sure that the offer to allow Cov players to compete in the A league is something that has happened at fairly short notice, so it probably won’t have been something that was even being discussed at the time of the last members’ forum which is probably the reason why it wasn’t mentioned.
Personally, I think it’s a good move for Cov but I can well understand how there might be those who are a little more cautious in their enthusiasm. However, Wasps are here, and here to stay, so I do think we should work with them and not ignore the fantastic resources, both in facilities and players, that they possess. I’ve donned my helmet there as I stick my head up over the parapet and await some flak…but that’s just a personal belief and not one I’d expect everyone to agree with.
And for the three players concerned, well I bet they’re raring to play Wasps in their A league. Good performances against won’t do them any harm whatsoever.
The Aviva A League is a crucial part of the player development programme within the Premiership Rugby clubs, particularly for the young English players emerging from the Under-20s set-up.
Mike Hynard, Premiership Rugby’s Head of Academies and Development
Anyway…that’s enough of that.
And so to Moseley…whilst it’s great that the home game will be the last before Christmas, it’s a shame for the players in a way that this first fixture is at Billesley Common. It would have been certain to draw in a far bigger than average gate and the roar from the stand that so many of us have mentioned would have been louder and more compelling than anything they will have heard at the BPA up to now.
That said, there will be a strong away contingent who will do the team proud…and I’m sure they team will do them proud to. It’s an important game, but there’s always a danger of reading a little too much into the result. Whatever the outcome, Cov’s progression is not going to be determined by what happens tomorrow.
Good luck to everyone involved…to the players, management team and supporters. It will be a fantastic afternoon, full of emotion and passion.
Whilst I won’t be there, I’ll certainly be glued to my tablet waiting for Sam’s updates, although one thing’s for certain…
…this time, I won’t be by the swimming pool.