Dear Pirates and parents
In the wake of a few recent conversations it would be helpful to touch base on match day selection policy. As background we have always given all players an equal minimum game time. This aspires to keep all the children enthusiastic about rugby and sport and give the whole squad opportunity to fulfil their potential. The WRU has increasingly recognised that selection can result in losing young children to the sport and correlates poorly with future performance, hence the disbanding of District teams below U15 last year.
Equally, given that our children are pre-growth spurt, they are encouraged to experiment with different positions and discouraged from pigeon-holing too early.
Whilst sometimes this puts the team at a disadvantage, against opponents who just play their best team, it has kept the whole squad together. This year we started the year with the same 24 players that started last year, which has not been the case for some of our contemporaries and turned away 3 more whilst they remain unfilled.
Not unreasonably many of the team did other things over the summer rather than attend our pre-season training leading a slow start into the season with many new scrum and lineout skills to learn. We have made some progress in the last few weeks which culminated in a very good team victory against Penclawdd, where all the players rightly felt that they were part of the victory. Clearly we didn't have the best week-end on Sunday, particularly against a team we beat two weeks ago. There have been lots of opinions aired as to why we had this performance and what direction the team should take from here. Without going into too much detail there were lots of small mistakes, in skills, decisions, application and tactics on the week-end, that weren't present in previous weeks, which collectively hampered our performance as a team.
Clearly with some notable exceptions we still need to ignite that 'switch-on from the kick-off focus and will to win' attitude that has eluded us.
Moving forward we need to decide if we continue to focus on teamwork, fun and developing potential, inline with WRU guidance, or focus purely on winning more matches. With the former we will have a strong happy squad for the coming years. With the latter we risk losing some of the fun and some of the players along the way.
At the end of the day the team belongs to us all collectively and input and suggestion is welcome from all, especially the boys. We would be grateful if each family could reflect on this as we go forward in the Season so we can prioritise and achieve consensus on our goals. We will be arranging a meeting in the coming weeks to discuss this. Finally any parent who would like to contribute in any capacity is most welcome in the volunteer coaching team, the necessary WRU training courses are funded by the club.
The coaching team.