This week is a heavy weak, with the first of the squad's pre-season friendlies, and a few of the lads will be involved in some way on Friday evening, but that's what they have been training for! I am immensely proud of the fact that all of this squad are from the Academy, now having been asked to be Coach and Team Manager, along with Matt Powell with his experience as an ex-player, and Mike Lancaster, physio and Lee Cleaver as Conditioner.
Bowls, now one of the longest serving players at the club, is regularly etching a place for him into 1st XV selection, Coxy having started with the Academy six seasons ago, and still only 21. I am excited for players such as Michael Penn and Charlie Fellows, both having burst onto the 1st XV scene in the last season, and already offering themselves into selection. The younger siblings of Tom Wood and Alex Grove, Rob and Ollie respectively, are looking to step out of the shadows.
Other new young players, Dave Askew, Will Runciman, George Crook and Earl Collins, all have a great chance to impress, and Andy Short, just back from South Africa, with the England U18, will be looking to make his mark for the club, as will the baby of the group Matt Kvesic, only just 17 years old.
I'm a great believer that ability is of little or no account without opportunity, so it's important to recognise when they come along together, well here we go!