- Ian Peel looks back on busy summer of rugby
- Energy and effort was outstanding – Peel
Photo: Tania Richards
England age-grade forwards coach Ian Peel has enjoyed a successful summer by all accounts – a maiden IRB Junior World Championship win in France with the Under 20 side in June was backed up by an excellent summer tour to South Africa with their Under 18 counterparts in August.
His summer record reads played eight, won six, lost two – with both defeats coming against South Africa – but as the former Newcastle Falcons loose head explains, sometimes losing is important in building character.
“The Under 18 boys enjoyed a really successful tour,” he said. “The amount of energy and effort that they put in was outstanding and apart from the first half against South Africa in our first game I thought that we played some excellent rugby.
“Of course it was disappointing to lose, but in the following game the guys showed massive character to win against Wales, and similarly with the Under 20s – we lost against the Baby Boks in the group stage, but went on to win the competition.”
Photo: RFU Archive
England U18 bounced back from their defeat against South Africa with wins against Wales and France, and Peel is looking forward to seeing how his young charges develop over the next 12 months.
He said: “We’ve been lucky this year to have some talented players and it’ll be interesting to see how they progress and develop. A few of the younger lads will play Under 18 rugby again next season but some of the lads will move through the age grades into the Under 19 and Under 20 sides – that’s the exciting thing.
“Most of the guys in these squads will have played with or against each other over the past few seasons so the continuity is there and our job is to bring it all together and produce teams capable of competing on the world stage. We achieved that in France with the Under 20s, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work and when you look through the squad list, the majority of those players had played at Under 18s or even at Under 16s, which is exactly what we want.”
Photo: Tania Richards
But for Peel there is little time reflect on a summer of success – he’s back in action at Harrow School this week for an Under 18s festival before taking a look at the latest crop of Under 16s, and then it’s back with the Under 20s as they bid for a fourth successive Six Nations win.
“There’s a lot going on,” he explains. “I’ll get a chance to say ‘hello’ to the family for a day or two and then it’s back to it. There’s a lot of work that goes on between September and Christmas with the Academies.
“It’s important to maintain good relationships with the Academy Managers and Coaches and it’s a case of watching a lot of games to see who’s going well and having sessions with players too. It’s a busy time, but it’s all good and hopefully we can build on what has been a good year.”
The summer tour also offered Peel the chance to see the new scrum call in action, a move he has labelled as good for the game.
“I think that it’s a positive step – we’ve really bought into it, it hasn’t really changed what we do, we always want to deliver good ball from the scrum and that’s still the case. The lads have done well, it’s obviously a little bit different but it’s the same for both teams and I felt that we managed it well.”