Unless you’re in it and dealing with it, you’ll never fully understand the nuances and complexities of the recruitment process

Is there a secret to successful recruitment in rugby?

Ask Macclesfield Blues’ Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, that question and he’ll give you a simple answer – no. There’s no secret to recruitment, however, there is definitely a rationale, particularly when you’re not in a position to throw money at the problem. You have to have a plan and a strategy, but that can often prove to be very difficult.

So what is this recruitment rationale?

Well, in Giles’ opinion it all hinges on building a strong squad with the right balance of youth and experience: a squad that is able to compete both now and in the future. Here what Giles had to say about the Blues’ recruitment and retention process ahead of next season’s National League 2 campaign.

What’s the rationale for recruitment for next season’s National 2 campaign?

“Well, we’re aiming for continuity as I mentioned to you last week. We’ve tried to retain as many experienced players as we could, and I think we’ve been pretty successful on that score. But there inevitably will need to be some recruitment for the future and for the here and now too. What’s most important of all, however, is the longer-term future of Macclesfield Rugby Club.”

“We’re already got great experience, particularly in our front row, with the likes of Sam Moss who already has 230 caps for the Blues, and Tom Mantell who will hit 200 caps this season. These two players are fantastic stalwarts for this Club, but we have to accept the fact that they can’t go on for ever. These guys, along with Billy Robinson, play in the front row and that’s a really attritional position. We’d love for them to go on forever, but we have to be realistic and pragmatic and have one eye on the future. So we’ve recruited Tom Poole and Joe Dearnaley in those positions to secure the long-term success of the Club.”

Can the recruitment and retention process be frustrating and rather demoralising?

“Yes, it can unfortunately. When it works out well it’s very satisfying. When it doesn’t, it can be annoying. If you invest a lot of time in a players and they leave you after a year, it can be extremely frustrating. There’s one player in particular I’m disappointed with, but he’s made his decision, and we have to respect that decision even if we don’t like it.”

“All you can do at the end of the day is to do your best. It’s a unique experience, and. You have to try to do everything you can to deal with the here and now as well as building for the future. The task is made trickier because we’re working with a limited budget, so you have to try and build good relationships with Clubs in the lower leagues to identify the upcoming players. We also keep our eye on what’s going on at the County’s Under 20 level, and that has in the past helped us to pick up some real talent.”  


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