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Captain's Column: March

Sunday 12th March 2023

We caught up with club captain Scott Matthews on the club’s recent form, the mood in the camp and the secret behind his highest try-scoring season to date.

He also spoke about playing in that game at Neath and the importance of the Pontypool support.

"The last six weeks have been really positive, particularly after the Christmas break.

"It’s really important that you settle back into the camp as quick as you and get back into how you want to play and the standards we want to set as a team.

"It’s also a good opportunity at these times for a bit of team bonding, like pizza nights, and little things that make you stronger on the field.

"The feeling in camp is really good, training is really good.

"We are at a point where we are pushing each other and the coaches have got the sessions right. We are looking for high-intensity sessions, which help maintain standards so Saturdays are easier than training.

From a strength and conditioning point of view [Gareth] Betts is doing a good job there and keeping us topped up with the right levels to keep us fit on the field.

"I think Neath is the only game we didn’t manage to get the four tries so we are exactly where we want to be.

“It’s been really nice to have a real good run of games and feel like we are in a proper season of rugby and I’m sure the supporters feel exactly the same way.

“The Neath game was a fantastic game to be involved in, for both sides.

“It’s really nice to have the big game feel. Both teams came out firing and wore their heart on their sleeves.

“The really pleasing for me is seeing comments on social media from both sets of supporters talking about the fantastic game of rugby they witnessed and ultimately that is what everyone wants, they want to be involved in good games and showcase their skill-sets.

“The victory itself was massive, not just for confidence and morale – we’re not cocky or arrogant but we go into every game really confident we can win and we did that.

“I’m sure they would have been exactly the same but putting plans and actions that we learned in the week into action on the field was really positive.

“There were probably two or three Pontypool supporters to every Neath supporter and as a player you can’t thank that kind of support enough.

“It was really positive to look up at The Gnoll and see it full of Pontypool supporters and players.

“It was great at the final whistle to celebrate that win with the loyal supporters.

“It’s all about making memories as a team as much as it is for the supporters and I’m sure it was a really enjoyable experience for everyone and we just want to thank the fans for that support.

“We, as a squad, are very aware that people spend their hard-earned money, particularly in the current tough times, so we want to reward anyone who is paying to watch us play by putting in performances.

“There are times in a game when it gets tough and they get you through and as captain of Pontypool, I’m calling out to all the supporters to maintain that support for us, that level of voice and to keep spurring the boys on because it certainly lifts us.

"I’m sure they will be out in force over the next couple of weeks, particularly with another big games against Neath to look forward too.

“But we’ve got two big games against TATA Steel before that and they will be stern tests.

“We respect anyone who puts a jersey on and takes to the field, that respect should always be shown to opponents.

“And how you show respect is by preparing well and playing hard and we’re certainly going to do that. We don’t take anything for granted.

“We spoke earlier on in the year when I was struggling with injury and not being able to have a positive effect on the team is something I find difficult to deal with.

“But being able to be out there and play consistently and score tries is really pleasing.

“Staying hungry is a big factor and making sure that when I go out on the field I enjoy myself and there is no better way to enjoy yourself than scoring a try.

“Some of the tries I have scored have been made really easy by the rest of the boys so I’ve got them to be thankful for but I’m always happy to score any try in any game.

“It’s something I want to try and do, leave a positive mark on the field.”


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