- Former Aviva Premiership scrum half Bemand heads back to Twickenham as a coach
- North Midlands head coach looking forward to strong display on “iconic ground”
Photo: Getty Images
Scott Bemand, the former Harlequins, Bath and Leicester scrum half, will make a fond return to Twickenham on Sunday, May 26, this time as head coach of the North Midlands county side.
Bemand, now working as part of the coaching team at National League One club Loughborough Students, is in his third season as coach of North Midlands, who face Northumberland in the final of the County Championship Bill Beaumont Plate (9.30am) having clinched promotion by beating Somerset 40-36 in their final group match last week.
Bemand played a number of times at Twickenham during his illustrious career, which included appearing in a successful North Midlands side in the Colts County Championship final and for England against the Barbarians.
The 34-year-old, who toured Australia with England in 2006, has happy memories of his visits to Twickenham and hopes that his experience will help settle his players for the first of three county finals that will be played at HQ on Sunday.
“Some of the boys are in the twilight of their careers and so this will be the last chance for them to play at Twickenham,” Bemand said.
“For some of the younger guys this will be their first opportunity to play there so motivation will not be a problem for us.
“It’s an iconic ground, you grow up seeing England playing there and it playing there is always something to savour no matter how many times you have been there.
“As an Englishman it’s your home and whether you are playing for your country or playing in a final, it’s a proud moment. When you run down the tunnel and on to the pitch you get a moment to look around and take it all in.”
Bemand expects to be able to select from an unchanged squad against a Northumberland side that will include strong contingents from the Blaydon and Tynedale clubs.
Northumberland beat North Midlands in the final of this competition at Alnwick two years ago but North Midlands were forced to field a second-string side that day. They have since improved the depth of their squad so much that wing Will Richard (Newport), scrum half Will Harris (Stourbridge) and prop Steve Blackburn (Bromsgrove) look likely to be reduced to the role of spectators on Sunday.
“We were unlucky to be relegated last year,” Bemand said. “No one would have seen Gloucestershire beating Hertfordshire.
“We picked over 50 players last season and the side that we took down to Cornwall was predominantly selected from players at levels five and six.
“But we have built a North Midlands culture and ethic that has helped to raise the profile of the county and which the players have bought into.
“This year we have had guys who have continued to turn up to train even though they know that they might not be involved on a match day.
“They have continued to come back and they have been invited to be with us at Twickenham on Sunday.”