Simpkin demands high commitment
By ALVIN SALLAY
PLAYERS who want to be involved in next year's Hong Kong Sevens and the proposed Pan Pacific Series should be warned that they will have to train a minimum of 14 hours a week and be prepared to follow a tough fitness schedule.
National coach George Simpkin, who named two squads for the national trials at Happy Valley on December 5, said he wants absolute commitment from players who will be expected to do a great deal of training on their own.
'I have already got one or two complaints about the time commitment. But this is the only way to go if we are to prepare for the Pacific tournament,' said Simpkin yesterday.
Simpkin said he will monitor the progress of the squad every week, with the players being assessed. Physical fitness will be monitored from week to week, as will the form of players.
'The whole objective is for the players to know that they are being watched. We will carry out regular fitness and strength checks. Even good players will not be allowed to rest on their laurels,' said Simpkin.
A large national squad will be named soon after the trials next week. This will also include the Hong Kong sevens squad.
While Simpkin will use the trials as an indicator, he will also pick players who he thinks are good enough and who played against the New Zealand Infantry regiment.
'I will only pick players who I think can perform. It is no use naming players just to make up numbers.' All the players named in the two squads for the trials will be given a run. Simpkin has two large squads because he is uncertain as to the injury count amongst the players and who will be available. Already a couple of players, including Hong Kong and Valley prop Toby Bland, have said they will be unavailable.
'I expect to be back in the New Year now,' said Bland who had a metal plate inserted into his arm which was broken during last season's game against Police.
Some of the other players who are unavailable include Rick Santos, Doug Morton, Andy Fields and Rick Shuttleworth. But all of them are in the running to make the final national squad.
Squad A Alan Clark (Club), Dave Reid (Valley), Dave Lewis (Police), Joe McLaddery (Aberdeen), Roger Patterson (Club), Neil Alton (Valley), Mike Rarere (Aberdeen), Tony Harker (Police), Sacha Seneque (Club), Duane Davis (Aberdeen), Stephen Kidd (Police), Martin Robertson (Club), David Wigley (Club), Ben Kefford (Aberdeen), Jeff Piper (Valley), Keith Gauntlett (Club), Rob Santos (Club), Pete Woolley (Police), Ashley Billington (Valley), Mark Solomon (Valley), Mark Hurlstone (Tigers), Vaughan Going (Valley), Andy Oxton (Police).
Squad B Brian Gilchrist (Club), Mark Howe (Aberdeen), Hans Lombardo (Valley), Alex Yuen (Gai Wu), Neil Burgin (Flying Kukris), Giles Scott (Valley), Grant Jamieson (Club), Nick Thompson (Valley), Steve Thompson (Kowloon), Brent Edwards (Valley), Sam Kynaston (Valley), Stuart Krohn (Valley), John Dingley (Police), Murray John (Police), Warren Warner (Aberdeen), Robin Bredbury (Valley), Rodney McIntosh (Valley), Isi Tu'ivai (Valley), Moape Ravuvu (Kowloon), Chan Fuk-ping (DeA), Joe Hancock (Club), Colin Lupton (Police), William Yee (Gai Wu), Justin Weston (Club).