HOW MANY players are lost to the game because they’re loath to commit to training? Sweden back-row Seb Taylor had doubts himself when first arriving in London, but he now captains a side, Old Haberdashers, that sidesteps the issue neatly.
“Our USP is not having to train in midweek,” he says. “So many good players can’t afford to give up two nights in the week, or even one night, because of work or family commitments. “Everyone is responsible for their fitness and if they don’t do it they won’t be picked. As for unit training, we practise ahead of matches – we’re out there 90 minutes before kick-off doing lineout or backs moves. It helps that the core of the pack have played together a while.”
The no-coach approach isn’t hindering results – far from it. Four London One North wins in September continued a remarkable run that’s seen OH promoted four years in a row. Defeat by Luton (32-22) was their first for 11 months, but even here there was a positive. “I think we were in awe at first – their facilities are unbelievable. We were 19-0 down and being pummelled but we regrouped and led at half-time. Impressive!”
Tighthead Andrew Sanderson is the rock of a team in which lock James Warner and wing/full-back Scott Chatterton are key figures. Playing out of Borehamwood, OH are packed with lawyers and don’t lack for conviction. “We have a winning mentality and a confidence,” says Taylor, a solicitor. “Our president, Ian McCarthy, has put structures in place, like recruitment and sponsorship committees, and we have a few new players. We’ve got momentum.”
OH are our September Team of the Month and receive a set of 22 Canterbury kitbags.
This article appeared in the December 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.