Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our 10th home game of the season and 20th game in total.
With the weather gods playing ball so far this season, we had a welcome week off last week and it gave us time to look at how Mr Lancaster’s men are developing up the road in TW2. Could they build on the terrific win at the Millennium and put the Azzurri to the sword at HQ? Personally despite their excellent start and Parisse’s opening score, I never felt the result was in doubt and although England’s performance was very good in parts and ordinary in others it feels that they are moving forward pretty well at this stage of the RWC build up. Injuries, far from disrupting the developing patterns, have allowed new talent to emerge strongly with Jonathan Joseph grabbing his opportunity with both hands and perhaps at least partially answering the centre conundrum. It is also good to see Dorking and Surrey old boy George Kruis, looking very much at home on the international stage. His is a good story of a late developer achieving success having not played any international age group rugby and cutting his teeth as a 17 and 18 year old in the Dorking second row, on a number of occasions against us! This firmly supports our strategy of introducing young players into senior rugby on a managed basis but as soon as possible after their 17th birthday. This approach has allowed us to consistently populate our 1st XV with a plenty of home grown talent (this season it’s just over 60%) and our investment in the quality of our coaches from 1’s right through to Devils is paying terrific dividends. Home grown talent, well coached and sprinkled with a group of very capable and experienced players has to be the right model for every Chobham senior team.
Since I last reported, we welcomed local rivals Cobham to Fowler’s Wells. In many ways the game was similar to that in October, a very competitive first half where Cobham performed at a level above which their league table suggests followed by us running in three tries in the last twenty minutes as the game opened up and our superior fitness told. In the end the scoreboard showed a very convincing bonus point win which made it nine wins on the bounce. With Guildford surprisingly losing the table confirms us in second place 4 clear of Sidcup and 5 of S&E and hot on the heels of today’s opponents Wimbledon.
So to today and our visitors Wimbledon. They are on a good run with only two defeats this year. With a high profile coaching team led by England’s oldest try scorer Nick Easter and supported by another ex-England player in Tim Payne, they are clearly not short of a view from the top of our game. Last season’s encounter saw two terrifically tight contests with us nicking it in SW20 and Wimbledon sneaking it a Fowler’s Wells. Unfortunately in October we were well beaten in what was undoubtedly our worst performance for a couple of seasons but it goes like that. Remember when we thumped Chichester by 50 points but they still got promoted. Today should be an enthralling battle between two of Surrey’s top teams. Having beaten both Cobham and Guildford we are looking for a Surrey treble to keep the pressure on our visitors. With a look forward at the remaining fixtures after today, it’s clear that this league will go right to the wire and we intend to be right in the mix come April 18th.
As ever, Ryan and Tony will have the guys focussed and raring to go to keep up the pressure on those around us in the table. Again our touchline has been magnificent and today it will be more important than ever. The players continue to be grateful for your support in cheering us onto victory as our 16th man.
Come on CHOBHAAM!!
Nigel Guy, Chobham RFC Director of Rugby