MET CAPTAIN: “WE’RE CONFIDENT!”
The Tab caught up with Met Captain Alex Tompkins ahead of Wednesday night’s big final.
Met captain Alex Tompkins was in a refreshingly honest mood when The Tab caught up with him ahead of the biggest sporting event in the Leeds calendar.
With regard to last year’s narrow defeat the open-side flanker was refreshingly honest.
“The Uni team are always well organised, and traditionally always good at the breakdown. Last year they just ran harder, tackled harder and that’s what made the difference.”
Despite this admission, the Met Captain spoke with confidence about the team’s preparations before this year’s crunch tie against their city rivals.
“We’ve been in pre-season since about mid-august, and since then we’ve trained 3-4 times per week. There’s only been one pre-season game but we feel pretty confident about where we are.”
There is also chance for promising fresher Luke Paynter at blindside flanker, after making it through the freshers’ trials.
“He impressed us… I haven’t got any doubts about him. The squad are fairly experienced and it’s a fairly crazy experience for everyone, he’s just getting it early.”
Tompkins described the atmosphere in the stadium during a varsity match as being a difficult one for every player on the pitch.
“You can’t really prepare for it emotionally… it creates an atmosphere where you really don’t know what’s going to happen. Frankly whoever reacts to the crowd and the occasion the best will come out on top.”
Again though the captain thinks they’ve learnt from last year by preparing even more thoroughly this year.
“We’ve been doing moves until their second nature, we’ve tried to make it so that we don’t even have to think (something no doubt uni students will jump on) because with such a loud crowd it’s difficult to hear anything, it needs to just be natural.”
The team haven’t sacrificed any of their flair though, despite the need to put more pressure on Uni at the breakdown.
“We try to play quick rugby, in terms of stars of the show hopefully we can build a platform where our back three can shine. Where we can put on a show for the crowd…like we did in 2010.”
The Met team will be united throughout Wednesday. Spending the entire day together, from lunch at Voodoo in Headingley at 1 through to half 5 when they’ll walk down to the stadium together before they warm up and go through some final moves.
“It’s a huge event for each of the unis but we just want to handle the pressure and enjoy it, because for the lads it’s possibly a once in a lifetime experience, playing in front of thousands of screaming fans. But we’re confident.”