The new season will be on us in next to no time, and everyone down at Priory Park is raring to go: none more so than Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett. Fresh and re-invigorated by a recent Mediterranean cruise, Geoff just can’t wait to get stuck in and is relishing the prospect of bringing the new members of the squad into the fold when pre-season training starts in the next few weeks. Naturally everyone at Macclesfield Rugby Club was sad to see Ross Whiney, Richard Hughes, and Charlie and Fergus Mulchrone leave the Club, but time and players move on. Now is the time to look forward and build for the future.
So, Macclesfield Rugby thought it was about time that we caught up with Geoff and had a chat about how things are shaping up for the coming season. Well, we can tell you that after hearing what he had to tell us, we’re as excited as he is about our prospects. Geoff may well have visited sunnier climes, but that wasn’t before he put arrangements in place for the coming year. Over the course of the next few weeks Geoff will share his thoughts on all the new additions to the squad, his views on youth development and how the Club are building for the future.
So how’s the squad looking for next season? Any secrets you can share with the supporters?
“Well, the news from here is very good. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I’ve worked bloody hard and have talked to a lot of players over the closed season. The problem was that our existing squad was just too small really. All you had to do was suffer one or two injuries and you were in trouble. The biggest problem was that there just wasn’t enough competition for places. So my aim this closed season was not only to freshen things up, but also to instil more competition in the squad. Any player worth their salt will revel in competition and improve when they train in an environment where they have to fight for a starting place. What this eventually leads to is a general raising of standards all round.”
What sort of squad have you managed to assemble then?
“I’m more than satisfied because we’ve managed to come up with a really good group of players combining good, proven and experienced players and some fresh new talent. The younger lads I’ve brought in are very good and have enormous potential. The best thing of all is that because they’re young, they have absolutely no fear, and as far as I’m concerned that can only bode well. There’ll be more said about them later, but I think it better to start with the more established, marque players I’ve managed to bring in.”
“The first player I’m bringing in is Matthew Rhodes. He’s a very experienced player having been at Rotherham and Cornish Pirates. He’s a real cracker of a player and a polished scrum half. He’s got good hands and a good kicking game. He’s been around some time and brings real experience. He’s got a good head on him and knows how to read a game well. Matthew will prove to be a great addition to the squad and will serve us well. He’ll also offer strong leadership in the 9/10 channel and will control a game in a way that suits our style of play.”
We’re also bringing in Dave Marwick from Stockport. Dave’s played with the England Counties over the summer. He’s an experienced and versatile back 5 player, who can easily slot in in either the second row or back row. He’s previously captained Cheshire and is a very good leader. What I especially like about the lad is that not only is he a really good player: he’s also a good thinking player who can think on his feet. Like Matt Rhodes, he understands the game and they’ll both bring that experience and apply this on the park. They understand what sort of things I want to happen on the field and they’ll make sure this is applied. I’ve been pursuing Dave for some time, and trying to get him to Macclesfield, so I’m delighted he’s finally coming.”
“He’ll be joined by Tom Cruse, another Stockport born player. Tom’s a hooker who’s a young guy with enormous ability and potential. Sale Sharks have been keeping an eye of Tom through their Academy system, and will maintain their interest in him whilst he’s under contract with us. Although we’ve already got a great hooker in Sam Moss, Tom will bring extra versatility. Not only can he play in the front row, he can also do a shift in the back row too. He’s just a very good all-round rugby player with a good head on him. He’s a sound prospect with a great future, and I really look forward to working with him.”