Mid season interview with Gareth Dyer

Date: 20 December 2017

As the Senior Squad goes into the Christmas Break, we caught up with Head of Rugby Operations Gareth Dyer to review the season to date and get his thoughts on where things stand ahead of the second half of the season.

Q: Gareth, you must be pleased with the first half the season?

GD: The league table for the 1st XV does make for happy viewing and taking 65 league points from the 70 available to date has been a fine effort from the coaches and players. It has put us in a decent position to really challenge in the second half of the season but there is a lot of rugby still to be played this season. We still have parts to our game that we can improve on and I am sure the coaches and players will continue to work hard to keep improving.

Q: Has the break come at a good time or a bad time from your perspective?

GD: I think with any break it all comes down to how you use it. Given the nature of the game, most players will be carrying bumps and bruises so having a break will hopefully refresh both bodies and minds. We were without quite a few players against Wirral but they were mostly short-term issues and I imagine we will have all except Conor Trueman back involved by the New Year. But we’ve been playing well so sometimes having a break can check your momentum. The coaches will decide on how we tailor our training time over the Christmas period so that we get back on the horse quickly come the New Year.

Q: There is now a gap between you and the chasing pack. Does that mean anything in terms of the bigger picture?

GD: There’s been a fair bit of comment given to it by the supporters but with most teams having lost games to the weather, the reality is that the table has a bit of an overly positive look to it as we are one of only 2 or 3 teams to have played all our scheduled games.

The teams below us do have some ground to make up and that will bring a pressure on them to win their games in hand. Those having to re-schedule games will have now lost rest weekend’s in February and any further postponements will see further free weekends disappear later in the season. That might be significant for those with smaller squads where later in the season the cumulative effect of those niggles, bumps and bruises can really start to tell.

From our point of view, we will just continue to concentrate on collecting as many points as we can.

Q: The next game on 6th January sees second in the table Hull come to Lightfoot Green. How big a game will that be?

GD: It’s going to be a very important game for both clubs. I was interested to read that Hull felt their two defeats and our drawn game earlier in the season were all easily winnable games and as a result they have no excuses now not to go the rest of the season unbeaten. Added to that was that they want to avoid a play off and to be the league’s dominant team. There’s some big statements in there. January is going to be a big test of their aspirations given they face us, Harrogate and Lymm over successive weekends.

We’ve been playing well at home and our level of performance in recent home games has been very good, particularly in the games against Lymm and Billingham. We will be looking to improve on those performances and I am sure the coaches will have the players fully prepared for the game.

Q: Finally, do you have a message for the supporters?

GD: Our support has been superb this season and the coaches and players are very thankful for the encouragement and backing they have given us. There is a real connection between the players and supporters and we hope that will further increase come the New Year. The travelling support has been very evident and vocal at away games and I am sure they will be happy to see an increased number of home games in the second half of the season. Their support is a very important factor and I am sure they will be relishing getting down to the Green in 2018.

On behalf of the club, the coaches and the players, may I wish all our supporters, members, sponsors and patrons a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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