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PGG Wrightson Div 1 - Southbridge Looking Strong
Although the Southbridge club is these days perhaps best known for being the home club of one of the world’s best players, it is in its own right a prosperous entity.
Its senior side has won its first two games in the PGG Wrightson’ s Combined Country competition this season (beating Hampstead
Their coach Nick Wilson (in charge of the side for the first time this season) says that they are where they want to be at the moment.
“We had three pre-season matches. They were classic pre-season games in the sense that they were a bit scratchy, although we did target our first match against Prebbleton at home as one that we really wanted to win.”
Win they did, thanks to in large part some very effective defence and a scrum that already appears to be one of the best in the competition.
“We want to use our defence as a weapon,” Nick says. “We haven’t conceded a lot of tries so far this season and at the moment it is working well.”
Nick says the key for his side is to develop their combinations. “Our average age must only be 22 or 23 and so in that sense we are a young side. A lot of the guys have not had a great deal of experience, so it’s important that they have time together to grow as a unit.”
What they may lack in experience they certainly make up for in class. In Jason Henry, their 19-year-old first five-eight, they have a play-maker with real talent.
“He’s been training with the Crusaders’ Development Squad and he is very good. He has a big boot on him and he’s a very talented ball-runner. He is a player with a big, bright future.”
It is of course not difficult to draw comparisons with Daniel Carter. After all, this area has a habit of producing top players. With other clubs in the Ellesmere struggling for numbers, why is it that Southbridge has had few problems and in Nick’s words is, “pretty flushed”?
“The (Daniel) Carter effect must have had an impact,” Nick says, “although we have not picked up any players from the Leeston Combined senior side (which pulled out of the competition). I just think we have a strong under-18 side, a good Division 3 side and that this has filtered through. Barring any major injuries, numbers should not be an issue this season.”
Southbridge takes on Burnham this weekend, again at home. That is another winnable match for the blue and whites and it should see them continue to build all-important momentum at this early stage of the season.
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