Newport set for an early return to focus on 21/22

Newport’s rugby players are set for an early return to pre-season training after writing off the 2020/21 campaign.

Head Coach Bob Adams.
Head Coach Bob Adams.

While club are staging some outdoor sessions after lockdown restrictions eased this week, the main focus is on preparing for next season’s Midlands Premier action.

Newport haven’t played a competitive match since March of last year and director of rugby Bob Adams is determined to have his men up to speed for when they finally get back out on the pitch in September.

“We have been focusing on next season for a while now, myself and the coaches,” said Adams. “We actually come back on June 14, we are coming back a few weeks early.

“Hopefully we can come back to the correct format of rugby union. If there are some adaptations then clubs and leagues will have to do that given we have been missing the game for so long.

“By the time the new season starts the players will gone 18 months without any contact rugby and we feel as though we need to manage that area and progressively introduce it into sessions as we move along.

“We have given ourselves an extra three weeks, but we will give ourselves a couple of rest weeks leading up to the season because we feel the players’ bodies will need that once they have been re-introduced to contact.”

Adams has been active in terms of formulating his squad for next season.

A number of players who had signed up for last season are still waiting to make their debuts after the campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The list includes former Fiji World Cup star Akapusi Qera, who has confirmed he will be on board for the forthcoming campaign, along with second row forward Jake Goulson and flanker Harry Mahoney.

“Akapusi and Jake signed for last season but obviously didn’t get the chance to play,” said Adams.

“They are both here along with Harry Mahoney, who has had his gap year and decided to join us rather than go back to Moseley, which is a coup for us.

“Henry Vaka is also back after a sabbatical. He wanted a year out of the game but he is back with us now.”

And Adams has further increased his options with some more recruitment, including his son Connor, and the promotion of a couple of of younger players.

“Connor, who is a half-back, has rejoined us permanently from Rotherham and he brings George Castledine, who can play at 10, 12 or 15, with him,” added Adams.

“Winger Max Beeching, a former junior here, has also returned to the club. And Alex Gow, a utility back, has joined us from Barnes Rugby Club after relocating to the area.

“We have moved a couple of youngsters, James Morton and Finley Barnes, up in to the senior squad. We feel they trained well with us last season. They have come through the youth system and they will get the opportunity to make a claim for themselves.

“It’s a strong squad and we want them to buy into what we are trying to achieve.”

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