Keddie reflects on positive pre-season


The first block of pre-season is now complete as the new United Rugby Championship campaign looms large on the horizon – but there is no let-up in preparations for the Men of Gwent.

In our latest Friday Focus feature, we catch up with back row Harri Keddie to discuss how preparations have gone, his own form over the last 12 months and thoughts on our pre-season games…

Q. How has the pre-season gone so far – lovely weather for conditioning?

A. It’s been very hot, especially the end of the first block, but it’s been good. Everyone is in good spirits and working hard to make sure we are in the best place when it comes around to games again.

We’ve had our first team sessions in the final week of this first block and there has been a good intensity. The forwards have got into units, and we’ve also got into scrum and maul work. It’s been competitive, which is always nice to see and a good start.

Q. How important is this first block and what have been the targets?

A. There is always a lot of fitness work and conditioning, but the boys look after themselves in the summer, so people come back ready to go.

We’ve got a new Head Coach in Dai Flanagan and ten new boys in as well so there has been refreshing stuff that we have learnt over this last year to get them into the environment and settled.

We’ve also looked at where we want to go and the way we want to play our game and how we want to move it forward. We’ve had some really positive meetings and sessions and it’s a perfect foundation for what we are trying to build here.

There has been quite a lot of rugby from the start this year too, which has been great. We’ve mixed the fitness in with that. It’s been tough and I’m sure the boys will look forward to a bit of recovery now.

Q. How much have you reflected over the summer on last year? Obviously not what the team wanted in terms of results, but a season of progress for you?

A. I always focus on the team, and it was a difficult season. Nobody is hiding away from that and it’s important we understand what we could have done differently and how we could have improved. But, at the same time, we got to look forward now and really build.

I felt I went okay last season, but what is important for me is how I impact the team and make us better. That‘s what I care about and focus on.

Q. There seems to be a good atmosphere in the group and real positivity. Have you felt that during pre-season?

A. Yes, I have. Everyone is getting on well, buzzing off each other in training. The new lads have come in and definitely added to the environment. It’s a good space and long may that continue as we push ourselves to get better.

With the new branding and new name is does feel like a new beginning. The stash is also looking nice - no complaints from me!

Q. Much planned for the week off before block two? Holiday or time at home?

A. I’ll be at home doing some gardening, unfortunately! Not too much and no plans to go away. I’ll stay at home and chill out with the weather we’re having!

Q. Finally, Bristol Bears and Wasps in pre-season seems to be getting ever closer. Eager to get started at Rodney Parade and on home soil?

A. Definitely! We’re all looking forward to getting back out on home turf. You always really look forward to pre-season and then, after a week or two, the mind quickly switches to games and that first run out. You soon get sick of the running and fitness and want to get into matches.

We’ve got two home games against English opposition to start the pre-season run and we’re keen to put some markers down. The fans were great last season so it’ll be good to see them again so all the boys will be looking forward to that and raring to go.

Season Tickets remain on sale NOW for the 2022/23 campaign at Rodney Parade. Back the Men of Gwent by clicking HERE or calling 01633 670690 today!

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