Thursday, 28 July 2011

On trial

I just love the fact that, in a throwback to the amateur era, England reportedly held a "full-on" trial match at the Stoop this afternoon.

The idea, obviously, was to help Martin Johnson decide who to cull from the the World Cup training squad. As an idea it's simple, brutal and, possibly, inspired.

During the amateur era, annual “Probables v Possibles" trials were commonplace for international teams (with the "Possibles" being particularly motivated) and, although today's trial apparently did not conform to that particular format, I do like the idea of giving fringe players a "live" opportunity to make their case.

As a youngster I always enjoyed playing in trial matches. I distinctly remember my first, as a gangly youth at the Cambridgeshire Schools Under 15 trials. From the kick off I yelled "Mine!" and took a clean catch, then won a couple of lineouts and promptly found myself in the starting XV at lock the following Saturday which, given that I really hadn't a clue what I was doing, was something of a surpise.

I trust Johnno's selection process might be a little more vigorous.

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