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Player power is going to be the key
9:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in Sport
COLCHESTER Rugby Club’s coaches are putting power in the hands of their players this year.
The Mill Road side are preparing to kick-off their London League division one north season at Romford & Gidea Park today and head coach Danny Johnston is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
This will be the first full campaign that he has been in full charge of Colchester, having taken the reins following the departure of Tim Grimsey after three games last season and Johnston has been bringing his own philosophies to the team.
He said: “Previous attitudes linger when you take over part way through a season and what you are trying to introduce can conflict with older ideas.
“But we have now had a proper pre-season and it has been terrific in the way the players have approached it.
“They are open to ideas and have worked hard to adapt to our new ideas.
“We want them to enjoy playing and play the type of rugby they want to play.
“We see ourselves as coaches as facilitators, helping them to develop their skills rather than prescribing a certain way to play.
“It will mean players have a lot more power handed to them and it is all about giving individuals responsibilities and letting them know what makes them successful.
“We have looked at their skills rather than allowing them to get bogged down with gameplans.
“If you restrict how they play, then you run the risk of over-coaching them and not getting the best out of them.
“We know the players are intelligent enough to know how to play and we want to let them have the opportunity to play a free-flowing active style of rugby.
“We have promoted the idea that they are capable and we just want to tweak the skills they have.
“I’m truly confident in their abilities and I think we have the strongest squad we have ever had.
“There is huge potential in this group.”
Apart from long-term knee injuries for Nick Flexman and Rhys Hartley and an illness for Calum Irvine, Johnston said he had a fully fit squad to take to Romford for the opening fixture.
However, Johnston admits that promotion may not be on the agenda this year.
He added: “We are going to hold fire in terms of promotion, but we know if we look after the rugby then the league position will look after itself.
“We’ll be concentrating on performance rather than results and if we move forward as a unit then we’ll be happy to finish wherever we deserve to finish.
“This league is so tight this year that every game could be a potential stumbling block.
“To pick three teams who will be challenging at the top and three teams for the bottom is impossible. This season will be decided by inches rather than miles and it’s certainly going to be challenging.”
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