The kids are all right as colts step up to Saints’ first team
St Austell want to continue their record of graduating colts into the senior squad PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS
By Gareth Davies
21st July 2021
Director of rugby Steve Murley says St Austell will continue their ‘proud record’ of graduating colts in the senior set-up at Tregorrick Park.
A conveyor belt of talent, which has served Saints so well over recent years, shows little sign of abating for the 2021-22 campaign, with Murley’s men plying their trade at South West One West level for the first time since 2015.
Harry Pritchard, Archie Bees, Joe Maunder, Matt Boothby, Oscar Simmons and Josh White are the latest batch of teenagers to be handed an opportunity to impress at first team level.
Speaking exclusively to the Voice, Murley also added a cautionary note to the integration of young talent into the men’s environment due to a lack of game time because of the covid-19 pandemic.
“At this time of year, we always look forward to last season's second year colts starting to make their way in our senior sides, Murley began. “
“St Austell have a proud record of developing and promoting young talent with our first team, regularly fielding over 12 players who have come through our youth section. “
“The past covid period has had an impact on rugby everywhere as both training and games were cancelled and altered to comply with government covid regulations. “
“With colts players missing large parts of their rugby development, through no fault of their own, it is essential that the transition into senior rugby is carefully managed with player safety paramount.”
“Despite an incredibly frustrating 15 months, the boys have stayed optimistic and are already back for the new season training alongside the senior teams. It has been an inspiration to me to see the time and effort that they have made to maintain their fitness and their laser focus on progressing their rugby career representing St Austell. “
“Typically, over the years, with many going to university, roughly six players have moved from Colts to our Senior sides. It would have been understandable if we saw a drop off, but thanks to a great effort from our colts coaching and management Duncan Pritchard, Andy Rice and Jo Bailey, we are delighted and proud that despite all the unprecedented trials and tribulations covid has thrown at them, a very promising crop of six are coming through. “
“All the lads will be working hard to earn their Saints shirts. We wish them all the best as they begin their senior careers and look forward to seeing them in our senior sides. If they continue to show such a dedicated and determined attitude, then they all have a very bright future at Tregorrick Park.”
Meanwhile, St Austell’s player-head coach Kyle Marriott was equally as enthusiastic to welcome six new recruits to his squad. “
“Since I have been here, we have had always had a good number of boys that have gone onto play for the first team,” he told the Voice.
“That is credit to our youth system at a difficult time and I am a firm believer that colts is some of the best rugby of your life. It is important that lads keep going because at the end of a colts year, you always lose a few to University, along with women and beer as I like to put it. “
“It is great to have a core group together and we did a lot of good things with them towards the back end of last season. “
“Every rugby club up and down the country wants that blend of youth and experience. We look around our squad and there are a few guys that are only in the early 20s and they have quite a few games under their belts, because they have been blooded at 18. “
“Guys like Ben Plummer, for example, have played quite a few games over the past two seasons and he is now stepping up and showing his leadership qualities in training and on the field too.”