Charlie Amesbury enthused by Cambridge University's strength in depth
Captain looking to press on against Durham University
Charlie Amesbury believes the youngsters pushing through from Cambridge University’s LX team have been integral in raising standards at the club.
The Light Blues produced a hugely-encouraging display in their last-minute 29-27 defeat to Loughborough University last week, and they will be hoping for more of the same tonight (Wednesday, September 27) against Durham University.
Despite being the first match of the season at Grange Road, there was a cohesion in the squad that is seldom seen at this stage of the campaign.
And captain Amesbury puts that a lot of that down to their warm-weather training camp in South Africa, and the programme devised by head coach James Shanahan.
“It went really well and Shanners put together a really good training programme which the guys actually executed well and picked up really quickly,” said Amesbury. “The bonding element really showed. We’re a really tight team that showed on the pitch because our defence really stuck together.”
Try scorers Jake Hennessey and Archie Russell were among the debutants against Loughborough, while others carried on the form they showed in the Lent Term.
“I think the new guys have bolstered the squad, but even more so, the guys that have come up from Sixties last year, people like Matt Watson and Ed Loftus, are really in the mix,” said Amesbury.
“They are raising the standards of the Blues. That’s good to see because we want to make sure people are coming through the system here rather than just bringing guys in.
“We have got a nice blend of guys that have come in, but really the Sixties are forming the core of the team now and that’s really good.”
Another good sign against Loughborough was the return of Stephen Leonard after a long spell on the sidelines because of a knee injury.
And Amesbury is predicting that the battle for selection in the Varsity Match for the back row could be fierce, particularly at open-side flanker.
“I didn’t see Stephen last year because he was out so much, but I’d heard great things,” said the skipper.
“And that No 7 berth, with a Sixties guy coming up in Matt Watson, a guy coming back from injury in Stephen Leonard and Tyler Hammond has come in with good pedigree from New Zealand, it’s going to be a tough spot that one.
“There are a couple of headaches but it’s early in the season so we’re still going to shuffle the pack a bit and give people an opportunity. We’ve got some depth which is nice.”