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Sneddon hoping for happy BUCS homecoming

Sneddon hoping for happy BUCS homecoming

Scott Sneddon in Premiership action for Glamorgan Wanderers against Neath in 2010

Scott Sneddon is hoping for, but not counting on, a happy homecoming when he returns to Cardiff for the heavyweight BUSC Super Rugby clash at Cyncoed tonight (Wednesday, 13 October).

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The Welsh coach, now in charge at Loughborough University, will be heading back to his old alma mater for one of the most eagerly awaited clashes in the competition – Cardiff Met v Loughborough University.

Two of the greatest rugby nurseries in the northern hemisphere, both for players and coaches, will go head-to-head in Round 3 with the unbeaten visitors, bedecked in their ‘African Violet’ and definitely not purple, jerseys looking to continue their development under Sneddon’s guiding hand.

Not that the Llantwit Major-born former outside half, who played for Cardiff, Newport, Cross Keys, Glamorgan Wanderers and Rosslyn Park, is doing it all on his own. Director of Rugby at Loughborough is the former Wales Women’s head coach, Rhys Edwards, another former student at Cardiff Met.

“I haven’t been back to Cardiff Met for 10 years. It’s a big fixture although we’re trying to treat it as just another game,” said Sneddon.

“They are a good side, and they have great support, but there are no easy places to go in this league.  We know we’re in for a tough night, but we went to Hartpury and won in the first round.

“There are still a lot of unknown quantities in all the teams in the league after almost two years without any rugby. The more games we play the more our teams will develop.

“Cardiff Met were unfortunate not to get the win against Durham in their opening game and I think Cardiff University certainly upped their game when they played them last week. It was a really tasty game at the Arms Park.

“They will want to do a good job on us and there is a great rugby tradition and rivalry at both universities. Danny Milton has built a strong rugby programme at Cyncoed on the back of what Chris Davey did before him.

“I was there between 2004 and 2008, although I missed out on the BUCS Cup final at Twickenham after playing in the first eight games because of injury. In my last year I went off to play for Cardiff and I’m not sure that Chris Davey has forgiven me yet.

“I’m still in contact with a lot of the boys that I played with at Cyncoed. It’s interesting that they had their 70th anniversary last year while Loughborough celebrated their 100th.”

While Loughborough can count Alun Pask, John Dawes, John Taylor and Gerald Davies among their Welsh alumni, Cardiff Met can counter with Sir Gareth Edwards, John Devereux, Ryan Jones and Ken Owens. Loughborough’s first coach was the former Wales Grand Slam and British & Irish Lions prop John Robins, while Cardiff Met have produced a string of Wales coaches – Clive Rowlands, John Lloyd and Tony Gray.

“My rugby career started under Matthew Silva at Llantwit Major. I was playing with Dafydd Hewett in the 1st XV when I was only 17 and then I played in the Cardiff Blues age grade set up,” added Sneddon.

“Then I went to Cardiff Met and ended up playing at Cardiff and then Cross Keys. I had three good years at the wondrous before another two back at Cardiff while I was working as a development officer for the Blues.

“It was great rugby exposure for me point paragraph after that I went to London and played and coached at Rosslyn Park. Then I went to Hong Kong.

“I was looking at getting into full time coaching and I couldn’t really see myself getting a job here in the UK because of my sketchy playing background. When I was in Hong Kong Leigh Jones was my line manager and he was really hard on me and the rest of the coaches.

“I think he got that from working with Eddie Jones. Prior to going to Hong Kong everything was just a little bit too comfy. I was put under pressure and always challenged by Leigh and Paul John – it was the best thing that happened to me and they both really helped to develop me as a coach.

“Twelve months after going to places like Tynedale with Rosslyn Park I found myself involved with the Hong Kong national team playing in the World Cup repechage competition. That was a sharp learning curve.

“I would recommend to anyone putting yourself into a different and challenging environment to test yourself. I could have stayed in more comfortable surroundings in London or even Wales and just drifted along. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into in Hong Kong, but look where I’ve ended up. If I hadn’t gone out there Kong I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of getting this great job out of the Loughborough.

“My goal now is to get Loughborough back to where they once were at the top of British student rugby. It’s all about developing individuals to go on to hopefully achieve their ambitions by becoming professional players.

“We give players outside the Premiership academies the chance to develop through our programme. The academies do great jobs, but if someone hasn’t had the chance to make the grade at 18 they can come into the university system and develop at their own pace on all sorts of levels.

“They end up leaving with a degree and hopefully having improved their rugby. I’ve had several premiership clubs ask to come here to see our players and, just as with Cardiff Met, a number of them have picked up professional contacts when they leave.

“The quality of BUCS Super Rugby is rising every season and it’s great for players to get the chance to play in games like the one at Cyncoed. It is going to be intense, exciting and of a high standard.”

Cardiff University travel to Exeter University for a stern test on the road, while Swansea university will be chasing their first win of the campaign when they host reigning champions Durham at St Helen’s

Cardiff Met (Cyncoed 7.00pm): Jack Silvester; Brad Denty, Bingo Ivanisevic, Will Rigg, Roma Zheng; Brad Roderick-Evans, Ali Stacey;  Rhys Barrett, Morgan Nelson (captain), Archie Kirby, Willem Vos, Barny Langton, Jake Bond, Charles Rylands, Matthew Marley
Reps: Nathan Karea, Joe Cowell, Matt Iorweth-Scott, Dan Reid, Joe Locke, Ethan Morgan, Adam Koblic

Swansea Uni (St Helen’s 6.30pm): Oscar Steward; Cameron Taylor, Rory Case, David Armstrong, Callum Dodd; Gwyn Parks, Harri Williams; Martin Mulhall, Josh Moore (captain), Owen Peddle, Ben Gregory, Lewis Jones, Benji Williams, Will Barraclough, Morgan Kneath
Reps: Garin Lloyd, Louis Fletcher, Christian Cavalli-Warby, Chris Thompson, Carwyn Sion, Dafydd Land, Drew Musa, Olli Andrews

Cardiff Uni (Topsham 2.00pm): Luke Pollock; Marcus Ramage (captain), Cam Scott, Jake Thomas; Elliot Haydon, Josh Oakley; Ed Thompson, Ben Chapman, Freddie Barnes, Griff Evans, George Shaw, Greg Ramage, Gwilym Evans, Alex Ashton
Reps: Cam Lewis, Connor Wood, James Pollard, Ethan Phillips, Ben Roberts, Mikel Davies, Ed Dunford, Luke Bray

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