12 Dec Coach Herod’s half-term report
The Pride have gone on an unbeaten run for the entire year for the first time in its short and proud history.
For Head Coach Ben Herod, the team has had some tough encounters throughout the season so far.
“As far as how the first half of the season went, we were unbeaten all the way through which is obviously terrific news.
“We had an easier start to the season against some Division Three university teams here and then things picked up for France. Afterwards we had three tough games to finish, including two Premiership Bucs teams on the same weekend, a Friday night (Loughborough) and a Sunday game (Bath).
“The highlight was the win against France on their soil. We struggled a bit with Loughborough away from home, certainly more than we thought we would. It’s probably the toughest run of games we’ve ever had and to stay unbeaten is testament to the players”.
“Our guys really sort of rose themselves up for everything. This year as good as France were, the Loughborough game away and the Swansea game at home were probably every bit as tough due to a lack of scout we had on them, but at that point we were a lot more comfortable with what we were doing”.
Herod is particularly pleased with the application of the current players and says in terms of endeavour, it is the best group of players at SGS.
“I think probably the biggest thing that has made this season a little bit different than every other year is that the kids have got a real buy-in into what we are trying to do. Also, the fact that we have got so many returning players this year has really helped”.
“As a result, the work effort in the gym has been unparalleled this year compared to previous years and it’s going to pay off in the second half of the season”.
“Normally when we reach this point in the season, everything starts to fade off with Christmas approaching, but this time we are already thinking about next year. It always seems like a long way off but that fact that we did so well against France and we have a rematch against them in February, our guys are pretty determined to show that we can beat them again at home.”
Coach Ben has high expectations for rest of season and says that his side won’t fear playing anyone, despite some mouth-watering fixtures against some tough opponents from Canada and the States in addition to a rematch on home turf against the France Under-19 side, who Pride beat in Vichy in October.
“We’ve probably got as hard a run of games as we’ve ever had after Christmas”.
“We play France in February and we have to defend the game we won over there. Then we have got Selwyn House in March, who are a Canadian prep school. I’ve watched them on film and that game could become a real shootout. Their strength is passing on offence so it will be really interesting”.
“Afterwards we have got an American All-Star team, which is full of seniors in High School coming over in April. I don’t think the expectation is that you can beat teams from North America but I think certainly we are looking to do something that no one has done yet”.
“The expectations are to certainly try and win out this year. How big of a step that is? I haven’t seen any footage of the American team yet, because they are an All-Star team so we won’t know until they turn up how realistic that is.”
“It is going to be tough to do. The fact that the games are spread out a month apart gives us a real chance to prepare for the games properly, which I think will help us and we’ve got a few warm-up games against university teams at the end of January which will help us prepare”.