Cardiffrfc.com spoke to Head Caoch Martyn Fowler to gauge his thoughts on the pre-season so far. We asked him about the fixtures and how they had gone as far as the squad and coaching staff were concerned.
‘The Bedford fixture was one of a planned series of three fixtures to be played against RFU Championship teams. The methodology when selecting the pre season games was to compete against the highest level of team’s possible during the pre season phase given Cardiff RFC status.
Throughout August we are looking to test this group of players while benchmarking our squad strengths and weaknesses against the fully professional squads, in readiness for the Welsh Premiership start on September 1.
Fixtures were planned on a week-to-week basis, with a perceived increase in opposition playing strength based on the knowledge that on the same week last season Cardiff RFC we able to select from a number of Cardiff Blues players.’
What about the games themselves how would you review them?
Barry 125 Anniversary Fixture
‘Taking nothing away from a committed Barry team, the game was played in monsoon conditions, resulting in a low scoring "mess of a game". 20 players made their Cardiff RFC debuts, settling nerves and giving us the opportunity to dust the cobwebs off.’
London Scottish & Bedford Blues
‘There were two very satisfying first halves in both games from our young squad. Against Scottish in the first half, the starting XV matched the London side in every facet of the game, scoring from a driving lineout and for the first time impressively implementing a new defensive structure.
The same can be said for the first 40 of the Bedford game, despite conceding in the first 2 minutes of the game the boys stuck at it and again were in the game at half time scoring once and spurning two try scoring opportunities.’
‘Given the strength in depth of both opposition squads, who were heavily supplemented with numerous players from Harlequins and Saracens respectively (the top two Premiership squads last season) we struggled to build any momentum or have the ability to keep or indeed slow opposition ball in the second periods. We are not looking for excuses. The injuries sustained in the London Scottish fixture decimated the strength of the squad traveling to Bedford, and that made that game even more of a challenge’
What have you taken out of the games so far?
‘From the Coaching team and the Committee the positives of this phase of the season far outweigh any negatives. We have two games under our belts against fully professional opposition and without any of our Cardiff Blues, Cardiff RFC partnership players to date.
We will tale a great deal from the lessons learnt from both fixtures and look to build on our strength and place greater emphasis on the areas to work on over the next two weeks.’
What about the next two fixtures?
‘It is hoped that with the Welsh Internationals, the Welsh Under 20’s and everyone fit in the Blues camp we will have access to the Cardiff Blues, Cardiff RFC partnership players for the Ealing home game, building to Landovery on September 1.
On behalf of the coaches and players a huge thank you for all who traveled to Bedford, your support is very much appreciated. ‘