The Macclesfield 1st Team have tried to replicate the professional environment as much as possible this year, in personnel and practice, with the latest step of this process manifesting itself in the form of a trip to observe the England squad in training.
Head Coach Andy Appleyard, Forwards Coach Rick Jones, and Performance Analyst Matt Coleridge, were guests of England Assistant Coach and former player Steve Borthwick, at Pennyhill Park on Thursday where the national side were preparing to lock horns with Ireland in the 6 nations at Twickenham. Joined by representatives of Leicester Tigers Brett Deacon and Boris Stankovich, the lads were able to observe the mid-week session, getting close to the action and pick-the-brains of the likes of 2003 World Cup Winner and England Team Manager Richard Hill, in order to pick up as much from the elite level environment as possible.
The day was engineered by Head Coach Appleyard, who was part of the England set up as an Assistant to Borthwick and Eddie Jones during his time with the RFU, before taking over as Macclesfield General Manager in 2019; bringing a lot of what he learnt during his coaching tenure.
It is great for the Club to possess and utilise such links to the professional game, and to develop the staff, as the team fights for promotion back to National 2 North.
Performance Analyst Matt Coleridge clearly found it a productive exercise: “Yeah it proved very useful, especially as a lot of what I personally have implemented has come from exposure to the elite level. It was interesting to see all aspects of their set up, including how they allocated their time in training, what tasks certain people do to facilitate the session, who speaks when, when they raised and lowered the intensity of the session, what drills certain units were doing and also hear about some of the methods they employ off the pitch too to mix learning with team spirit too. We’ve definitely picked up a few things that could prove handy back at Macc and will look to bring some of that professional environment to our set up.”
Andy agreed: “it was fantastic to be back at Penny Hill yesterday, a rewarding refresher for myself but also great to be able to take Rick & Matt from the Macc staff along with me. We are focused to keep developing ourselves so we can aid in growing the quality of people at our club”.
The coaching team are lining up further insightful trips in the future with a trip to Warrington Wolves RL already in the pipeline.
Macc were enjoying a fallow weekend, but have been in the 5S gym with Strength and Conditioning Coach Jay Curtis this week, preparing for the visit of Blackburn on the 29th February, when the side will look to get back on track after defeat to Sandal.