Firstly let me start by wishing Neath RFC supporters a Happy New Year – and in rugby terms certainly a happier 2018 than 2017 !
The feeling in the squad is that we must improve because we have not shown anything like what we can do over the first half of the season.
We started well enough, winning the pre-season friendlies then the first two league games against Swansea and Carmarthen.
But then things started to go wrong with a heavy crop of injuries and it was a long wait until November when we beat Llandovery.
It has been a frustrating time for everyone and, watching from the stands, it has been a difficult time for the youngsters and newcomers in the squad as we were hoping to bring them along quietly alongside the more established players.
But I don’t think any club side in the Premiership – except perhaps Merthyr with their spending-power – would have been able to cope with our injuries.
We have suffered five broken bones. Aled Morris (arm) started it and we’ve had Josh Cole (jaw), Keiran Williams (ankle), Ben Uphill (ribs) – and my leg !
We’ve done three knees – Charlie Davies did his ACL which needed an operation, Jonny Griff and Scott Hicks are still awaiting theirs.
We’ve had several concussions on top of that ruling out players for three weeks at a time – and all this on top of the other ‘normal’ bumps,
The region has been unable to help us so it is easy to see why we have struggled.
In some ways maybe we have done better than might have been expected and done well to keep our focus as the lack of games in the BIC periods stopped us from looking at alternatives.
I know it’s tough at the moment for everyone but if the supporters stick behind the boys we’ll be putting in a big effort in a “one-off” Cup game against Cardiff in which we have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Do or die !
I hope to be back to help after Saturday’s Cup game and should be ready to start when we get to February when the rest of the 16-team Premiership resumes through to the end of the season. If we can get a few more players back we will be ready to improve.
Finally, thanks to the medical team, the staff and all the supporters who have helped me get through the last 3-4 months and for your loyal backing during the year.
Things will change for the better – Happy New Year !
Jordan Collier – January 1st, 2018