David Clegg Recounts The Views Of U19s Head Coach, Garreth Carvell, Ahead Of Saturday’s Clash At Wigan
There can be few more daunting places to play, especially for youngsters at U19 level, than Wigan Warriors, but for a significant number of the Salford squad, it is more than a little special, as many of the side are born and bred Wiganers themselves. Indeed, Head Coach, Garreth Carvell reports that they are all keenly looking forward to the match.
“It’s always tough to have to go to Wigan,” he admits, ”because in fact the whole club, at every level, plays an extremely physical brand of rugby, and the players work really hard for one another. It is something instilled in them by U19, so that they can take it forward into the first team, as they progress. It will be a real test for our lads, but they are all up for the match, and will enjoy being up against a top side.”
Unsurprisingly, Garreth is anxious for his players to reproduce their second half form of their last outing, on Humberside, against the City of Hull, but whilst he accepts that circumstances conspired to go against the Red Devils, particularly on the injury front, they could have performed more consistently and have won the game.
“The awarding of a penalty try, on 55 mins, seemed a possibility, but later we had enough opportunities to take the game,” he maintains. “That was because we started sticking to our processes, and playing to our plan, but, just as that was really working well and we had clawed our way back into contention, the odd individual started drifting away from it, and doing their own thing, which was what caused us to lose.”
This, he adds, proves that the players still have lessons to learn, and particularly in respect of sticking to their processes, especially when these are clearly working.
“That is the progress they need to make in order to get into the first team,” he insists. “Being selfless, and working for the team, is what we are looking for.”
A team of the calibre of Wigan will, undoubtedly, punish any wayward play, not just with one try, but with back to back scores – something of which they are certainly capable. As Garreth points out, they are particularly good at depriving their opponents of the ball, for long periods at a time.
“It is crucial we complete our set,” he explains. “When we get into the arm wrestle, we are quite a tough team ourselves, as we show really aggressive running. Keeping possession, therefore, is vital, and the longer we can manage this, the less defending we shall have to do.”
It is perhaps typical of the exigencies of the British summer, that, having had a sparsity of fixtures over the last couple of months, and after a week of delightful sunshine, Saturday’s forecast is quite dreadful, and conditions could well wreak havoc with set plays and game plans. Garreth, however, is concerned much longer term for his players, than the immediate future.
“Playing in adverse conditions will stand them in good stead for the future,” he claims, “when they might have a vital first team game, in similar conditions. Therefore, this will be an opportunity to test themselves, and their skills, in the poor weather, which, of course, will be the same for both teams.”
Their recent match over on Humberside has, unfortunately, determined the non-availability of some of those who were injured. Fullback, Connor Williams, hooker, Aaron Moore, and back rower, Lewis Gregory, all received knocks of varying degrees, but, as Garreth declares, the loss of key players provides others with the opportunity to stake a claim and show what they can do.
Referee – AHaigh
Touch Judges – R Whitworth, G Barrass
Venue – The Ad-Options Stadium, Edge Hall Lane, Orrell, WN5 8TL KO- 2pm