Exmouth RFC latest – an ‘end of campaign’ chat with head coach Steve Perry

The Exmouth pack (second from right James Harris and far right Ethan Langson Justice) in action duri

The Exmouth pack (second from right James Harris and far right Ethan Langson Justice) in action during the 2019 Devon Cup final against Barnstaple. Picture TIM RIDGEWAY - Credit: Archant

Cockles head coach Steve Perry had yet to see the match video when the Journal spoke to him a day after the Cockles 61-22 defeat in the final of the Devon Cup at Barnstaple.

He was, as ever, ready to take the positives from the performance and he explained saying: “I thought, apart from the early blast we received in terms of those three quick Barum tries, that we produced some good rugby.

“I am not prepared to hide behind the obvious excuses of our lack of experience and having as many senior players missing as we did have.

“No, we fielded a XV that we felt would do justice to our cause and, to be fair, I felt the lads all put a good shift in.”

He continued: “You never quite know what to expect when you send a team out into a cup final and, if anything, its quite likely that the early tries dented out collective confidence. But, we recovered and it was particular pleasing that we were able to register as many as 22 points against high quality opposition.”

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As for that watching of the match video, the Coaches head coach explained saying: “I am looking forward to sitting through the 80 minutes again because, in the heat of the battle, you do not see everything as you are drawn into certain aspects of the game.

“I do enjoy taking my time to assess individual and collective performance away from the ‘on-the-day;’ drama of the action.

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“It’s important to see just who might have put their hands up highest with regard to them coming into regular thinking for next seasons first XV.”

So, with the season now done, does the Cockles head coach now look forward to a break from the game?

His response is eye-opening in terms of the thinking and planning required at this level of the game!

He says: “Goodness, no! If anything the serious work begins now as we need, together with the director of rugby to take stock of our playing staff, find out if any are not going to be with us, be that through university commitments or indeed working away.

“Once we know what we have we can discuss any recruitment needs and what might be open to us.”

“Then there’s liaising to be done with the junior team coaches to see what is coming through the playing ranks.

“One thing I have enjoyed this first season at the club is the way we are all working as one. There does seem to be a very natural pathway for younger players to come through the ranks and ultimately get their chance on the 1st XV stage.”

So, after a full season with the club, and given that the campaign ended with a cup final defeat at the home of your former club – any regrets?

He replies: “Absolutely and categorically no! I had a smashing time at Barnstaple and they are a terrific club and the welcome I got – I still have many, many good friends up there – at Saturday’s cup final, was really warming.

“But I am an Exmouth man now through and through and have really enjoyed my first year at the Imperial Ground.

“Here we have a club run by very genuine rugby folk who are also good people and the thinking is all as one.

“It is a well-oiled sporting cliché to talk of a ‘family club’, but that is truly what the Cockles are, and I am looking forward to putting things in place during this close season that will mean, when the next campaign begins, we are in the best sort of health to continue what has, over the past year, been 12 months of good progression.”

He continued: “In playing terms we have beaten each of the teams we have come across with the exception of that very good Bournemouth side so we really are not ‘that far away’.

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