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England Counties - Will they be BIG in Japan?

By K
June 2 2009

England Counties will the be BIG in Japan? - Buoyant Counties XV survive Seoul soaking

England Counties Japan 2009

Torrential thunderstorms and lightning cut short the England Counties RU team's first training session in Seoul, South Korea today (Tuesday, June 2), but the weather did nothing to dampen coach Dave Baldwin's delight at the way the squad came together.

"Our first session was tremendous. We've moved on much more rapidly than we have ever done in the past and certainly more quickly than we did for the Spring internationals." said the former England A and Sale lock: "The players have grasped the nettle immediately and we're moving forward at a pace. Unfortunately, after a great morning session, we had to cut short our second spell because of torrential thunderstorms and lightning, but I'm well pleased with the work we've done today."

Although the Counties have a new coaching team and a squad including 14 newcomers, there will be no changes to the ethos of enterprise and ambition that has become the hallmark of the side.  New backs coach Tom Borthwick played a part in designing the blueprint when, with Bob Hood, he coached the inaugural tour to Chile in 2002. Since then the representative flagship of club and County rugby outside the Guinness Premiership has stuck by an approach which always finds favour with successive groups of players.

That philosophy, allied to the having such a diverse squad of players to work with and mould into a coherent unit, leaves all concerned facing a daunting test.

Coach Baldwin is very positive about what lies ahead.

He said: "We're all looking forward to the tour. It's a very exciting thing to be involved in and for me, working with Tom for the first time and with a new group of players adds to the anticipation. It's always big challenge."

Said Borthwick: "It's quite challenging to pull players together from all over the country with different concepts of how to play the game. That's the trick - to get the group together in a short time and develop an ethos about what we are trying to do. You have to learn to think on your feet and respond quickly to situations and different players.   "When you are coaching a club you get to know how players respond. In situations like this, man management becomes a challenge and you need to react quickly.

"We managed to get a couple of sessions in before we flew out to Chile to get some organisation in place and that helped a great deal, whereas this time we are trying to hit the ground running, but with very little time to work in. "We've some exciting players to work with. There's a lot of potential in the squad and it's a huge opportunity for them. There are always players who come out of the group who go on the play in the Premiership and even higher and this is a chance for them to make their mark."

"Our aim is to win three games and I'm confident we have the players to do it."
says Baldwin: "This trip to the Far East is a first for the Counties and it's bringing new challenges, a new environment and new, unknown opposition. It will definitely take the players out of the comfort zone of playing in a familiar club side and that's what Counties XV rugby is all about - going somewhere a bit special and seeing how the players react.
And the difficulty of players being tired at the end of a long club and county season. Says Baldwin:

"With that Red Rose on your chest and a white shirt on your back, you don't need any other motivation. Tiredness won't be an issue. As the lads showed today, there's plenty of gas left in the tank to make this trip a success."


England Counties Squad:

 Backs: Chris Bishay (Wasps & Middlesex), Gareth Collins (Leicester Lions & Warwickshire), Nick Royle (Fylde & Lancashire), James Aston (unattached & North Midlands), Jack Harrison (Tynedale & Northumberland), Patrick Leach (Manchester & Cheshire), Kyle Dench (Otley & Yorkshire), Steve Parsons (Otley & Yorkshire), Mark Woodrow (Birmingham & Solihull & Gloucestershire), Tom Eaton (Manchester & Cheshire), Tom Richardson (Stourbridge & Berkshire), Huw Thomas (Nuneaton & Warwickshire).

Chris Rowland (Clifton & Somerset), Rob O'Donnell (Sale & Lancashire), Joe Graham (Tynedale & Cumbria), Owen Hambley (Redruth & Cornwall), Matthew Long (Birmingham & Solihull & Gloucestershire), Peter Joyce (Redruth & Cornwall), Matt Owen (Manchester & Cheshire), Paul Ralph (Manchester & Cheshire), Mike Howard (Bedford & Eastern Counties), Eni Gesinde (Tynedale & Northumberland), Chris Rainbow (Hertford & Hertfordshire), Wayne Sprangle (Plymouth Albion & Somerset), Sebastian Moss (Manchester & Lancashire), Jason Smithson (Blaydon & Northumberland).

Tour itinerary:
Friday, June 5 Korea President's XV v England Counties at Seongnam Stadium, Seoul.
Monday, June 8 -East Japan v England Counties in Tokyo
Friday, June 12 - Yamaha Jubilo v England Counties at Yamaha Resort Tsumagoi


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England Counties - Will they be BIG in Japan?
Unofficial England Rugby Union (IP Logged)
02/06/2009 10:31
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2009:06:02:10:34:25 by Kath..

Re: England Counties - Team Up
England News (IP Logged)
03/06/2009 15:42
England RU Counties XV, the representative flagship of the club and county game outside the Guinness Premiership, will have 13 players on debut when they open their three-match tour to Korea and Japan with a game against a Korea President's XV in Seoul on Friday (June 5).

Seven of the starting line-up have played previously for the Counties, among them prop Matt Long, who captains the side.
"It's great just to be picked for the England Counties again and to be invited to be tour captain is a massive honour." He said: "I've done the job before with Moseley and Birmingham & Solihull, so I know what's expected.

"I suppose it comes from being one of the elder statesmen on the trip and having been with the Counties to Argentina in 2005.
"From a rugby perspective, the challenge facing all the players and coaches it to build a team in a relatively short space of time. It's important for us to really get to know each other as quickly as possible and gel together as a team."

Tour Manager Danny Hodgson is thrilled about the progress being made in the first couple of days of the trip.
"This is an absolutely excellent group of lads and Matt Long has taken on the captaincy role like a duck to water," he said: "Once again we will be fielding a team with a perfect balance of experienced Counties players and others who will be enjoying the thrill of pulling on an England shirt for the first time. The work done in training has been first-class and I'm really excited about seeing this team in action.

"I'm sure that's equally true of our hosts. The enthusiasm here for the game and our team is absolutely tremendous. We have five schools to watch us training today and we have more outreach work in the pipeline after tomorrow's Captain's Run. The youngsters were in the 16/18 age group and they were not only very keen and enthusiastic, but also very skilful. We were all very impressed."

Korean rugby received a timely boost with the announcement of a new sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered First Bank (SC First Bank), which, in coinciding with the first visit by an English representative team, is seen as a major step in a bid to boost rugby in Korea.

"The sponsorship by a big international company is very meaningful for our team as it will help much in bringing public attention to rugby and help promote rugby in general,"
said KRU President Choi Won-tae."Also friendly games with big international teams like England Counties will help the Korean side develop and move up the international rugby rankings.

Although a relatively minor sport played by university teams, rugby has been in Korea for 85 years and for most of that time, the national team has been at the top of the game in Asia along with Japan, who overwhelmed Korea 80-9 at the Hanazono Stadium in Osaka last month to successfully defend the HSBC Asian Five Nations crown.

Korea are 24th in the International Rugby Board world rankings.

England Counties XV: Chris Bishay (Middlesex); Nick Royle (Fylde & Lancashire), Jack Harrison (Tynedale & Northumberland), Patrick Leach (Manchester & Cheshire), Steve Parsons (Otley & Yorkshire); Mark Woodrow (Birmingham & Solihull & Gloucestershire), Tom Richardson (Stourbridge & Berkshire); Chris Rowlands (Clifton & Somerset), Joe Graham (Tynedale & Cumbria), Matthew Long (Birmingham & Solihull & Gloucestershire), Mike Howard (Bedford & Eastern Counties), Matthew Owen (Manchester & Cheshire), Eniola Gesinde (Tynedale & Northumberland), Chris Rainbow (Hertford & Hertfordshire), Sebastian Moss (Manchester & Lancashire).

Owen Hambly (Redruth & Cornwall), Rob O'Donnell (Sale & Lancashire), Jason Smithson (Blaydon & Northumberland), Wayne Sprangle (Plymouth Albion & Somerset), Huw Thomas (Nuneaton & Warwickshire), Tom Eaton (Manchester & Cheshire), Kyle Dench (Otley & Yorkshire).

Record win for England RU Counties XV 108 -10
England News (IP Logged)
05/06/2009 17:46
Record win for England RU Counties XV
Friday June 5, 2009
Issued by Tony Simpson

The England RU Counties XV collected their biggest winning margin since they were founded in 29 matches ago in 2002 when they beat a Korea President's XV 108-10 in Seoul today.

The tourists scored 16 tries in a free-flowing romp in which all their training ground work came to fruition in spectacular style to eclipse the previous best - a 76-10 win over Russia in France two years ago.

"We did what we had to do and executed well."
said forwards coach Dave Baldwin: "Our finishing was exceptional. Very clinical. The game got a bit scrappy at times, but we managed to pull it back and get the structure back into our game.

"We have to be cautious in assessing the performance because we know that we have tougher games ahead in Japan. We need to keep our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work hard in training."

Counties tries from Steve Parsons (Yorkshire) four, Nick Royle (Lancashire) and Chris Bishay (Middlesex) two each, fly-half Mark Woodrow (Gloucestershire), Cheshire centre Patrick Leach, lock Mike Howard (Eastern Counties), hooker Joe Graham (Cumbria),

replacements Kyle Dench (Yorkshire) and Wayne Sprangle (Somerset), lock Matt Owen (Cheshire) and centre Jack Harrison (Northumberland). Woodrow added 12 conversions and replacement Tom Eaton tw

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