Interview with Loughborough Grammar School First XV Coach and Captain

After a long season with more Seven’s tournaments to come including the famous Rosslyn Park 7’s, captain Tom Summerscales sat with me to discuss his final year of school rugby.

How do you think the season has gone so far?
‘I think with the addition of a new coach this year, as it was hard for him to adapt to school life, we made good steps forward in playing as a team, rather than a group of individuals.’

How do you think the season could have gone better?
‘I think that the attitude of the players in turning up to training on time, and professionalism on match days is a key problem for us next year.’

What were the highlights of the season for you personally?
‘I think the victory against QEGS Wakefield was huge as they are a team that our first team hasn’t beaten for a long time.’

Were there any particular performances that really drove this victory forward?
‘No. I think that this game was a clear indication that we can play as a team, and when we do, we can beat teams like QEGS that have been the best team in the country.’

You have been Captain all year, how do you think you have played personally?
‘Personally I think I have been my usual self, attempting to make the biggest tackles as number 8, and I always try and lead with example hoping it will rub off on others.’

Did any players exceed your expectations?
‘Aqeel Hassan was fantastic this year for the team and really stepped up to play at a good level.’

Having interviewed the captain clearly it was time to talk to the brains behind the team. Emyr Lewis, new to the school this year evidently had a difficult job with this season having never met any of the players. I went to talk to him about his experience at Loughborough so far.

There have been rumours that you were a professional player. Is this true?
‘Yes I was professional for about 10 years starting my career in Wales playing at Newport. After spending a few years with different clubs in Wales, I took a year out to go and play in New Zealand. When I came back I played championship rugby for Plymouth, Bedford and Exeter.’

May I ask what prompted your retirement?
‘Age. I got to the point in my career where I wasn’t a 1st team starter just a squad player. So I knew it was time for me to take a slight change in job, and I was very fortunate in getting this job here.’

You have moved to Loughborough Grammar School and are new this year. How do you think you have settled in?
‘Yes no complaints so far. The kids are very responsive; they have good discipline and work ethic in what they do already which helped me a lot.’

How do you think the season has gone so far?

‘Looking at last year’s results and obviously taking into account me being new, we have had a mixed season letting ourselves down on consistency and attitude on too many occasions. This may have been because I was new… I don’t really know.’

How do you think Tom Summerscales was as your captain this year?
‘He’s been excellent; you can tell he demands respect and his leadership is reflected in the way he holds himself on and off the field.’

What do you think will be vital for next year?
I think primarily as we play many boarding schools that are a lot bigger, we need to develop physically. In training and in games out skill level is much higher than opponents. But it is a physical game after all.’

Both coach and captain seemed relatively happy with the season so far and have good hopes for the county cup. Whilst next season seems a long way away for them both, with Summerscales leaving, Coach Lewis has plenty of thinking to do for next year’s captain and team to make an improvement on this current season.

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