Press Pass: Everitt on season opener
Get the latest from Senior Coach Sean Everitt as he spoke to media ahead of Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener against Dragons RFC at Rodney Parade.
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Ben Healy, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner and Luke Crosbie all back training. Does that mean available for selection?
“Yes, they are available for selection. We’ll announce the team later this week
“We’ll see how they get through the planning and preparation, but if we want to select them they are available.”
When will the remaining World Cup contingent be available?
“The other guys will be making a return. Duhan van der Merwe is going to have extra time off right now.
“We need to balance their time according to our needs as well – we’d like to give them more time off, because we do understand that it has been a stressful campaign for everyone. It’s been quite a long World Cup, and they deserve the break that they need, especially with the long preparation prior to the World Cup – sometimes we don’t take that into account.
“I’d like to look after their wellbeing, so we could stagger their start to the season depending on their personal needs.”
Is Duhan one of the players that will have added rest?
“Yes. We’re looking for Duhan to be available for the Leinster game, which is in round three.
“Darcy Graham and Jamie Ritchie are carrying injuries from the World Cup, so they won’t be available for some time. It could be four to six weeks.”
On Dave Cherry’s availability for selection
“It took him a while to get over the concussion. He’s well and healthy, and he’s got a new member to the family, which is very exciting for them, and he seems to have settled down well at home.
“So we’re excited to have him back, and I’m sure he’ll be eager to put his hand up for selection later on with Scotland and the team for the Six Nations.”
On rewarding younger players who’ve impressed throughout pre-season
“That is going to be disappointing for some, because they have trained from 12 June. But the reason behind that was to develop them and get them up to standard for the URC, so if we need them,they’ll be at the right standard.
“In the two friendlies that we played some of the boys have put their hands up. The full-back, Nathan Sweeney, has been really good. And the two 7 boys that we brought in to play against Bath were outstanding in that game. Cameron Neild got player of the match against Bath.
“Those are nice selection problems to have rather than stressing about not having people to fulfil positions.
“We’ve given it some thought and there has been a lot of planning going into the next nine rounds of the URC with regards to team selection in a perfect world.
“The guys have been communicated to, and everyone seems to be happy with where they are at the moment.”
Ben Healy and Javan Sebastian new to squad – big ask to play this weekend?
“Yes, it is a big ask. Ben came in last week and we had meetings with him. He’s keen to get on to the field, and I think all guys that are part of the spine on the field want to control the show.
“He’s a diligent young man and he’s learned his roles really well – and he’s an international. It’s a good thing that he hits the ground running, otherwise it’s just another week for him to learn again.”
On Ben Healy’s kicking accuracy in the World Cup
“The 11 out of 11 (Healy’s kicking stats against Romania) is an area that Edinburgh struggled with last year.
“The team only kicked 62 per cent accuracy, which was a big part of their downfall in the tournament. And as we all know there were only a couple of points in it between 12th and the top eight, so we need to nail those points, and Ben can certainly do it for us.”
On Hamish Watson’s return
“Scottish Rugby have RPP protocols. They protect their players and rightly so, and Hamish is one of those players. But he’ll be returning on Monday.”