Webber enjoys Jersey Reds’ online recruitment
INCOMING coach Rob Webber admits it was refreshing to sit on the other side of the table during Jersey Reds’ player-recruitment process for 2020/21 – even if it was all achieved via video calls.
The recently-retired Sale Sharks hooker, who played for England at the 2015 World Cup, will begin a career on the sidelines next month after replacing Neil Tunnah as lead forwards coach at St Peter. The 33-year-old is set to team up with director of rugby Harvey Biljon and assistant coach Ed Robinson when Jersey’s borders reopen to incoming travellers – and he wants to make a physical imprint as soon as possible.
‘I didn’t even know what Zoom was about a month ago, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got shares in it now,’ Webber joked.
‘I’ve had a lot of video calls back and forth with Harvey and Ed ... calls and emails – that’s how we’ve done the recruitment and that’s another reason why I’m dead keen to get to the Island as soon as possible. I’d like to have a face to face conversation with someone.
‘It has been really insightful discussing players, though, identifying talent and also looking at the characteristics of players we want to come to Jersey.’
Discussing his forward line-up for next season, and his own expectations following a long career in the Premiership, Webber added: ‘We do have a high turnover of players. We’ve recruited eight or nine forwards but that almost allows us to determine what our identity will be. We can put our own mark on it.
‘In terms of what I’m looking for, they have to be able to do the basic jobs well in the set piece – at any level in rugby that’s crucial. Some of them will be a work in progress and some will be leading the charge, but equal to that they need to be good people to have around ... good blokes who fit in with how we want to run the organisation. It’ll be a hard-working place but we’ll have a good time along the way.’
Webber was initially planning to arrive in Jersey next week in preparation for pre-season on 1 July, but with the Island’s Covid-19 guidelines for contact sport still to be finalised a delay to training is highly possible. Travel restrictions and plans for the next Championship season will also dictate the club’s on-field preparation, with one potential scenario being that league fixtures will not restart until January 2021. Reds’ chairman Mark Morgan revealed in May that there would be ‘no appetite’ to return until spectators are permitted to attend.
More in Wednesday's JEP.
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