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<div align="center"><font color="#0000CC"><em><strong>Report by Huw Davies, edited by Andrew Davies</strong></em></font></div><br />
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Dan was selected in the first XV squad to travel to Whitchurch for the first only pre-season friendly of the year. The Luctonians has 4 senior men's teams so for Dan to have made the first team squad right off the bat is in itself a major achievement given his playing experience to date. <br />
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Whitchurch are a similar standard to Luctonians and the games are always close. This game was no different and the end result was Luctonians won 7 - 3. The game wasn't of the highest quality but some rustiness is expected at the beginning of the season. Dan started at open-side flanker and played all of the first half and 20-minutes of the second half before being substituted by last years open side flanker. The feedback I got is that Dan didn't shine by any means but he certainly didn't look out of his depth. Dad said he missed a tackle he should have made defending a back row move and he spent a little more time standing out with the backs than he thought a flanker should but added he may well have been told to stand out as they were maybe looking to use his speed in attack. Dad asked him how he found the game and Dan told him he was surprised at the speed and physicality of the game but enjoyed himself immensely and can't wait to play again this weekend.<br />
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A couple of the old boys told Dad that based on this first performance they thought Dan was probably a second team player but others think he should be in the firsts and given a decent run to see how quickly he adjusts, learns and improves. The coaches will make that decision.<br />
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Essentially Dan is fighting it out for a starting spot with 5 other back row players who are all very capable and obviously have bags more experience on their side. If he gets chosen for the second team next week that is probably more beneficial to him than being on the bench for the first team and only getting 15-minutes rugby. The first team are playing Scunthorpe away which is about a 3-hour drive. To give you an idea of the level of play, the Luctonian's second team are probably stronger than our club teams and the first team would be stronger than the Barbados side we played in the World Cup qualifiers. It is the<br />
highest level of amateur rugby in the UK and the reality is there are probably some clubs in the league that pay their players. <br />
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On the non-playing side, the reports are that Dan has settled in very well to life in the English countryside and has quickly become popular at the club and with some of the local farm girls !! He is working for a large construction company owned by the club chairman. The chairman has two sons who both play first team rugby (prop and lock) and Dan is becoming good mates with him. Dad spoke to the bloke Dan is apprenticing with and he gave Dan a glowing report.<br />
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Dad took Dan to Cardiff to watch a pre-season friendly between The Cardiff Blues and Worcester which was quite an experience. He said Dan's eyes popped out of his head when he saw the Cardiff Arms Park, the speed of play and the size of the players.<br />
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All in all, very positive and Dan is representing well and seizing this opportunity. Let's see how he does when the sleet and snow start and the nights close in!!

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