Deacs' Week: Hard to pick a county rugby star of the year
FOLLOWING the announcement of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominations, it made me think who would be my contenders for a Gloucestershire Rugby Personality of the Year.
There are so many great stories around but success is defined in many, many ways – whether it's silverware or developing players or getting three sides out every week.
There's so much going on in Gloucestershire rugby that most people are not aware of and a tremendous amount of hard work going on.
It has been hard for Longlevens to put out a third team and that's credit to a lot of people at the club.
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Newent could be team of the year after doing so well in Gloucester One but they'd be chased hard by Old Centralians.
Jack Preece has done very well with very limited resources and built a good solid player base and rugby club.
Then you have Chris Hall at Coney Hill who took over when they were in a troubled position and it could have gone either way and stabilised the club.
Look at Alan Martinovic at Hartpury College who continues to roll out strong players.
Some say, 'so he should do' because he has the excellent facilities and resources, but they still have to win games and beat the opposition in front of them and the fact is they're in a competitive league.
At Cheltenham Saracens there's guy called Michael Pitman who works very hard for the cause.
That is what it's all about – it's about reliable guys who do the hard work.
It's very difficult to give the accolade to one person because there are so many people involved on and off the field including treasurers, chairman and directors of rugby!
At Cinderford the success is not down to me. It's our first class coaching unit for the senior teams, the playing squad, the administrators behind me – everyone has a role to play to make it the club it is.
Gloucester All Blues have turned their club around.
Also Reg Daldry and Danny Smith at Tredworth have done a great job trying to pick the club back up.
The Old Crypts are doing well in Gloucester Three and they are my favourites to go up, but its fair to say the all of these clubs have been through a rough time of late.
They've not always had success but they've taken stock, reorganised and they've all come through and that's a credit to clubs in general as opposed to individuals.
In a club environment there's so many people that make a club tick and it's hard work, organisation and a passion to keep doing it when you get knocked back.
If you can do this then that is a recipe for success.
BURNS HAS GOT THE LOT - NOW HE CAN SHOW ENGLAND
WHEN Freddie Burns came to Cinderford on loan as a young kid a few years ago, his inconsistency blighted his early career but that was why he was with us.
He was always trying to find the wonder pass or wonder kick instead of trying to play to a structure.
This is what you get with someone so young but in the ensuing years with us and then at Gloucester with their Premiership coaching environment he has developed into a great player and understands when to go and when not to go.
He gets it right and coupled with the fact he’s kicking the ball off the ground better than anyone in the Premiership is also impressive.
He deserves his chance for England and I hope he gets on against the All Blacks on Saturday and I’m sure he’ll do well.
I just hope that it hasn’t come too soon to him where the England coaches put him in and then disregard him, because sometimes they do do that.
They talk about young player development which is fine but they then put them in and say ‘there’s a young player, oh he didn’t have a good game...’ and only give him one or two chances and not a fair crack at it.
You have to be very careful how you treat younger guys; Freddie is a talent that will mature and he will only get better and turn out to be a fine player and a great asset for Gloucester Rugby.
For Gloucester to have a ten playing for England is pretty rare really because it is normally only front-row players that are called up by England.
It is good and raises the profile and it’s a bigger compliment not only for England but also for Gloucester.
Freddie’s a very clever guy and has every weapon in his armoury.
He may have a defensive frailty when Richie McCaw is running at him but who doesn’t!
Or even the New Zealand winger, Julian Savea, who is 6ft 4ins.
Watch this space, my prediction for the 2015 World Cup player of the tournament will be Julian!
ROBSHAW WILL LEARN OVER TIME
CHRIS Robshaw got his penalty call wrong which is unfortunate for a young captain but he’ll learn from that.
The England captain’s decision to go for goal rather than the corner at the end of Saturday’s South Africa game cost his side any chance of victory.
England lost 16-15 at that penalty came too late for the Twickenham men to grab another score.
Lawrence Dallaglio said in his recent Life Stories programme that he made a similar error against Wales at Wembley when they lost the Grand Slam following Scott Gibbs’ try.
Dallaglio made that decision for different reasons, which was to rub salt into Wales’ wounds.
On Saturday Robshaw misjudged it but being a captain on a rugby field is an important and underestimated job.
Dallaglio and Martin Johnson were very good captains and very good players and that’s why they went through their periods of success.
They had a lot of leaders at the 2003 World Cup but it goes back to my previous column about Nick Easter.
Nick is a talismanic leader in great form and is the best number eight in the Premiership at the minute and does not play so you could solve two problems in one if you pick him.
With the technology that’s available to Stuart Lancaster regarding microphones and water carriers where everyone is communicating, they can get a message onto the field to kick or not.
When it happens at Cinderford I always have a word with the head coach Dave Pointon over the headset about what we should do and then get a message on.
But it can be difficult when you’re in certain areas of the pitch.
You have to consider if you can kick it from a difficult position or how strong is the driving lineout. You have to take every decision on its own merit and understand every situation is different.
You need clarity in what you’re doing and you have to back it.