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Boobyer Aims High

Boobyer Aims High

Neil Boobyer beat the Australian national side and won the league and cup double in his first season at Llanelli, but his testimonial against Leeds Tykes at Stradey Park (Saturday 17 August, kick-off 2.30pm) will kick start a campaign that could better even that.
Ten years on from the greatest moment of a career that has seen him capped seven times by Wales, win three Welsh Cup titles, three League titles and score 55 tries for his club, there is only one thing on Boobyer’s mind.
“We want to go one better for the fans this season and lift the Heineken Cup,” said Boobyer
” The 92/93 season has to contain the best moment of my career so far, when we beat Australia at Stradey Park and we also won the league and cup that year.
” But if there’s anything that’s going to beat that, it will be lifting the Heineken Cup trophy and that’s something we are all going for this time around.
” Reaching two European semi-finals in the last three years is some achievement. But those moments are obviously heavily tinged with disappointment, because we where knocked out of the tournament each time in two very tight games. And the biggest disappointment of my career has to be losing to Leicester in that semi-final last year. “
The testimonial will be the first chance for fans to experience the new ‘Scarlets Family Zone’, a 27 metre square, free to enter, marquee-style entertainment village, exclusively for children and families visiting Stradey Park.
The Zone has a ball pool, bouncy castle, animal room and a clown to entertain children, but this is also a chance to support Boobyer, who had a revitalised season for the club as they took the Welsh/Scottish League title last year.
With Dafydd James leaving for Bridgend pundits said outside-centre would be a problem position for the Scarlets, but his experience was a vital part of their successes.
” There is hot competition for places again this year with Matt Cardey back from injury and Matthew Watkins signing for us from Newport, ” added Boobyer.
” But it’s all about strength in depth in the squad these days and if I play well in the first part of the season I’ll get my share of games. I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment and I have a good couple of years left in
me, besides I haven’t satisfied my ambitions for European success yet.”
The Boobyer family have done great service to Welsh rugby and Llanelli over the years, with twin Roddy currently plying his trade as a centre at Caerphilly and older brother Ian still working away in the back row at Stradey.
But Neil says it is harder than ever to compete, as the standards in rugby have risen so dramatically during a career that has spanned two decades and one Millennium.
” Rugby is a lot different now,” he said. ” It’s a lot more physical with players training every day and keeping in top condition. As you get older you have to do more training just to keep up, that and use your head a bit more during a game and pace yourself.
” There is a way to play without rushing all over the pitch all the time, but its still a lot more demanding on the old heart these days.
” One thing that remains constant is the fans. We have the best fans in world rugby at Llanelli. They have been coming out in their droves to follow us recently, especially in the European matches, and if we can go one better
and reach the final this year it will be for them.
” When you walk out to a sea of red shirts in the stands it gives a real boost to the team and I’m sure plenty of them will come out to support me against Leeds.”
Neil Boobyer is also planning a testimonial dinner at Stradey Park with Max Boyce as special guest on Friday 26th July. Tickets cost £25 and are available along with commemorative testimonial ties at £8 each from the club on Tel: 01554 783900.

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