Chiswick RFC’s Director of Rugby Adrian Hoile takes time out to speak to Sam Meade for the Hounslow Chronicle.
thanks for taking time out to answer some questions for us.
First of all, how has pre-season gone? Is there anything new preparation wise that you’re trying to give yourselves an edge this season?
Hoiley: Preseason has gone well. Some new faces and a keen positive attitude shown by all. We came off the back of last season winning the county cup so the feel good factor and momentum has continued as we started preseason. However last season is now just that and if we don’t perform come the 3rd September then it will feel like we have slightly under performed in terms of how we wanted to start. The edge we are trying to have is that we now know what we face unlike last year and we know what we need to do to turn 50% of the losses from last year into wins. My lead coach Nick Huggett has been working the boys hard and we hopefully have a few more tricks up our sleeve this year. Of course I won’t tell you what those are however but I do at least expect us to be fitter stronger and 50% more competitive.
After promotion two years ago were you happy with consolidating last year? Or are you always looking for more?
Hoiley: We were very happy with last year as consolidation was the aim and I felt we did that we’ll and in the end we never felt we had to look over our shoulders. We finished very strongly which culminated in the cup win so I was very pleased. I am always looking for more but I am realistic to the task at hand. We have a far smaller budget than our competitors I imagine and have to at times be more like magicians than coaches but that said it’s the most rewarding club I have been at as every win that is achieved is done through hard work and a fantastic team effort. This year we have set our target as a top 8 finish and to retain the county cup, if we do that I will be very happy.
Did you feel the team adapted quickly? Or was the step up in class evident and it was always going to take time to settle?
Hoiley: We didn’t adapt last year as quickly as we could have and I think it was more mental than anything else. We needed to believe that we could play at the level and that didn’t happen until after Xmas but once we overcame the mental hurdle we were more than a match for anyone and some of our performances proved that. This year if we can take the step that I hope we will we should be able to have a much more consistent performance level and with that comes results. I am a strong beliver in performance as only one team can win and one can lose, I don’t mind losing but it’s how you lose and then react thats the important part and I hope we react quicker this season at times than we did last year
What are your realistic ambitions for the upcoming league campaign?
Hoiley: Realistically top 8 but staying up for a club like ours is always priority number one so if we finish 11th I will be disappointed but happy in some ways.
Of course, the cup win over your local rivals was a particular highlight – will you be putting particular onus on defending that? Or is finishing as high as possible up the table just as important?
Hoiley: I think the win and the way it was achieved and against our nearest (less than 250 meters) rivals will be one of my most proudest moments in Rugby. Being an ex middlesex player and coach I strongly believe in the county cup I also feel that we are one of the top clubs in the county and you can only achieve that mantle by winning that cup. If and when I leave Chiswick I hope that we have our names on that trophy more than twice and have established ourselves within the county as one of the premier amateur sides if not the premier amateur side. Plus it’s our cup until we lose it and we are very proud to have it so someone is going to have to be really up for it to take it from us as we know how important it is for us to be called Middlesex Cup Champions. I mean the club waited 55 years to be called that so we won’t be letting it go easily. For me the league and cup go hand in hand we also go week to week so our performance is measured game by game regardless of the competition.
Can we expect to see many new faces around the club or is having a settled squad something you are particularly keen on?
Hoiley: We have a settled squad but have gained some new exciting additions plus our 2nd XV were champions last year so they are all pushing for places. My squad know me and know that nobody has a given right to a place on the team sheet and I will make decisions for the good of the squad and team when it comes to getting results. Play well and perform well off the pitch and you will probably be in, don’t and I will give a chance to someone else. I want players to own the Jersey and be proud of it and never want to give it away and do everything in thier power to not let that happen.
On a larger note, Eddie Jones has come in and worked wonders with an England team that exited their own World Cup just a year ago. He’s brought with him a different mindset and philosophy that the players are currently thriving on, proving that every new beginning brings with it new possibilities. Is that something you are keen to learn from and harness for your players this term?
Hoiley: I coached in Canberra in 1999 and met Eddie on a couple of occasions as he was coach of the Brumbies and I am a big fan. I think he knows what he wants and knows good and bad what he needs to do to achieve that regardless of who is lost on the way as he knows others will step in to take the team forwards. Winning is everything and so is performance and I think I am hopefully like that too. Every season is a new beginning and every player has a new slate each season so it’s down to them. I would love to spend some time with him now to see how he made a talented but under performing team 6 Nations champions In less than 3 months I think I know how he did it but that would mean spilling some secrets I actually think what he did most of all was bring in honesty. Honesty with his players and demanded it back from them.
Promotion from London 1 South would see Chiswick enter the National League ladder – Do you believe Chiswick is a club capable of competing at that level and do you believe you have the resources to continue the good work over the last couple of years?
Hoiley: That’s a big question. I think as an area Chiswick deserves a national league club but as a club we are a few years away from that but I wouldn’t turn it down. Chairman Kelvin Campbell and I have plotted where we are for the last six years and agreed when I came in that we would build organically and build a strong club that could sustain a strong 1st XV in an honest and amateur way. His support has been invaluable as we have as a team had some huge ups and some huge downs which at other clubs could have seen me get the pink slip so what we are planning now could see national league rugby but in a natural way and when the time is right but for now we are probably at our glass ceiling but of course we want to smash through that. Our main problem is creating revenue streams or gaining sponsorship to help us on our journey. We lost all of our sponsors this summer and we are yet to gain new ones so it’s going to be tough. We don’t kid ourselves as we knew from the start of last season we were the only amateur side so this year I think that’s even harder. If all the pieces of the jigsaw (finance and players) came together at the same time I strongly believe that I could lead Chiswick to the national league with the squad I have and the coaches but I think only 75% of that rise is done on the pitch the rest is off the pitch and we are not quite ready there. So to answer yes it’s possible but we have a long journey ahead to get there but an exciting journey.
Thanks again Adrian and I wish you all the best for the upcoming season and looking forward to keeping tabs on your progress.