Martyn Fowler the new Cardiff RFC Director Of Rugby gives his thoughts on the up coming season.
‘With the first session of the new season completed and seeing some of our new recruits in action, all involved are looking forward to the challenge the Welsh Premiership and British & Irish Cup presents.
By anyone’s standards the club and its players underachieved over the last two seasons, finishing a disappointing ninth in consecutive years, league positions that are unacceptable given Cardiff RFC’s proud history.
Myself, the coaching team, the committee and new Club Captain Shaun Powell are all relishing the challenge and are fully committed to improve the clubs league position over the next two seasons.
It is ironic and for me, and a very positive omen, that the last time Cardiff RFC won the Premiership title Phil Davies was at the helm. Now Director of Rugby at Cardiff Blues, Phil is hugely supportive of Cardiff RFC and has made it clear that he expects a marked improvement in performances and league standing.
I am spending every spare moment at the Blues centre of excellence at the Vale of Glamorgan, observing the new environment under Phil develop very nicely. The obvious question from a Cardiff RFC perspective was; were there any contributing factors that led to RFC winning the league under his guidance? The one thing that I took away from the discussion was the Cardiff side once winning was never changed, it is hoped that we can enjoy the same level of much needed continuity this coming season. Last season over 66 players were selected giving the squad and coaches no chance of obtaining any level of continuity; The last time Cardiff won the league only 28 players were used all season.
This philosophy is evident and transparent with the appointment of Shaun Powell as Club Captain; Shaun was one of the clubs few consistents last season. A hard running centre who has a versatile skill set, making him capable of playing both centre and wing. I felt it important that our Club captain be a Cardiff RFC contracted player who leads from the front every week whether on the playing or training pitch and is proud to wear the Cardiff RFC shirt. Shaun is all too aware of the responsibility the Captaincy of a Club of Cardiff RFC standing brings and will ensure standards are met and adhered to all season. He as are we are fully committed to emulating the successes of past RFC squads over the next two years.
Already it is evident that the new recruits and those players retained by the Club are committed to driving standards up; dropped balls and mistakes made at the first session were met with encouragement and reinforcement that it’s not good enough.
Ball carrying number 8 Adam Brake, (Llanelli), wing Steve Cullen (Bridgend) second row James Murphy & hooker Aaron Fowler (Bedwas), all made an immediate impact given their levels of ability. Unfortunately wing Jamie Davies (Neath) was injured playing for the Crawshays in France but present spurring the boys on, centre Max Woodward (Pontypool) has exam commitments, as has former Cardiff favourite openside Dan Franks who will be returning to the club this season.
Additionally there are a number of players currently training with the squad looking to gain a place in the 2012/13 squad. With the Clubs Wales Under 20s and the Blues Academy players not available until July 5 there is ample opportunity for those most committed to stake a claim to wear the Cardiff RFC shirt.
We have five games and the Abercynon 7s in the pre season phase, there are three games where the emphasis is to unearth a gem and three games to test our most talented new recruits and retained players, all building to the start of the new season.
I have mentioned a few of our new signings but there are other new faces as well as some of last season’s squad still with us. During the next few weeks our website will be publishing details of the squad and it is hoped that we can arrange a meet YOUR players, coaches and committee BBQ over the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing you there.’