Van Breda ‘having so much fun’

Scott Van Breda looks for room against Saracens when the two sides met in the RFU Championship. Saracens currently occupy fourth spot in this season's Gallagher Premiership Picture: GARRY BOWDEN

FOLLOWING the shattering news that the Jersey Reds were to enter liquidation, one might forgive those who proudly pulled on the jersey for the Championship side to turn their back on the Island.

However, for one of the stars of the title-winning team, he “feels like a kid again” turning out for the grassroots Jersey RFC team.

Utility back Scott van Breda was one of many abruptly informed they were unemployed after the Reds collapsed last September, but has subsequently secured a job locally for HSBC, while turning out for Myles Landick’s amateur outfit.

Speaking after their latest blow-out victory over London Irish Wild Geese, the South African said: “I’m having so much fun being a part of this team. There is a lot of pressure that comes with the professional side of the game and that is understandable, it’s part and parcel of being involved in any sport at a high level.

“But when you step away from that and back into amateur rugby, it is more about playing with mates on the field.

“It is easy to forget why you started playing the game when it becomes a full-time job, but being out there competing with a great group of lads – I feel like a kid again.

“We love playing together and I think it shows. There is a smile on everyone’s face out there and that desire to fight for one another is showing in the results and the improvement we have made throughout the season.”

What was perhaps lost in the anguish of Jersey Reds’ situation, was the love that many of them who donned the colours have for the Island.

Van Breda, for one, is proud to call Jersey home, as is former Reds scrum-half James Mitchell.

The latter is also transitioning away from the professional game with a keen interest in the coaching side of the sport.

Currently serving under Landick as the backs and attack coach for RFC, it is abundantly clear that Jersey is more than just a place these former professionals worked. It is a place they feel they belong.

Mitchell has received effusive praise from the head coach – as well as their players – for the work he has done within the squad in such a short space of time – something Van Breda was keen to highlight.

“Mitch has been brilliant. He’s really enjoyed his role and within the team and his knowledge is helping everyone.

“Turning visits into the opposition 22 into points for us has been a real point of emphasis for the team. We have been working really hard on it.

“Earlier in the season we were making plenty of line-breaks and not converting those opportunities, so it was great to see that practice put into action against London Irish.

“I thought the forwards were outstanding. Their little skill movements and tip passes. The little things that people take for granted and it looks really easy, but it isn’t. Mitch has been really keen on strengthening our attack both through the backs and the forwards.

“When you are strong in both it makes it really hard for opposing defences to know where to focus.”

From full-time professionals to key cogs of the amateur side of Jersey Rugby, it is plain to see both Van Breda and Mitchell’s affinity for local sport and their involvement within the set-up can only help the future generations of burgeoning Caesarean rugby stars.

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