Feature Interview with Senior Mens Head Coach Glenn Baskett   29/08/2019

Profile Longford RFC Senior Men’s Head Coach Glenn Baskett

Name: Glenn Baskett

Nationality: New Zealand/Ireland

Position: Longford Senior Men’s Head Coach.

Hometown: Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand & Longford Ireland.

Favourite Player: Still the master of the Back Row Dark Arts; Richie McCaw.

Coaching Qualifications: IRFU Level 4

Coaching Experience: The 18-19 Season was Glenn’s first as Longford Senior Men’s Head Coach.  It turned out to be very successful, yet very frustrating at the same me.  Before that Glenn was Senior Men’s Head Coach with current Director of Rugby Niall Moran and had also coached at underage level in the club. 

Last season saw the Senior Men finish second in Division 1B and agonisingly miss out on promotion with a last kick of the match loss to Bective in the playoff and also fall short at the Semi-Final stage of the Provincial Towns Cup.  Beating Suttonians in the League and Kilkenny in the Cup both on front of a packed CPL Park were particular highlights.  With a loss in the league away to Carlow in December and the play-off losses the low points.

What he learned: The primary take home from last season was that to ensure promotion the only place to aim for is first place.  It is a big ambition, but the Senior Men have finished 3rd and 2nd in successive seasons with 1st place the next logical yet challenging goal.  Some areas Glenn and his coaching team have identified for improvement this season is playing smarter rugby and doing the right things at the right time along with the backline crossing the whitewash on a more regular basis.  Apart from this having a better kicking option has been identified as a big area for improvement.    After an end of season survey, it was realised that the Senior Men’s Coaching Setup required strengthening to increase expertise and also to provide a better match day set up for the Longford J2 side.

This Seasons Coaching Team:  Glenn has remained as Head Coach along with Niall Moran as Director of Rugby.  Alan Campbell is still looking after S&C along with the J2s on match day and will be joined looking after the J2s by Ciaran Sloyn from Athlone.  It is hoped that providing a better set up for the J2s along with a great Captain in Philly Dardis will allow them to push on and turn many of the last years narrow losses into wins.  When on their game last year, the Longford J2s showed that they can compete with anyone in the league.  One major focus will be getting a better return from home games.

The overall set up has got a great new injection of expertise in the form of Kolo Kiripati who has joined as J1 Assistant Coach.  Kolo was Head Coach of North Kildare last year and previously has a great career with Buccaneers in the AIL.  Steve Coy also continues as J1 Assistant Coach.

Along with that, as per last season, all matches will be videoed with high quality video analysis.

New for this Season:  Two players hailing from South Africa will be joining the squad in the coming weeks to bolster the backline (more on this in the coming weeks).  Overall this season a great emphasis is being put on players driving the environment and set up.  The moto this year is ‘Take Responsibility Yourself’ (TRY).  Senior Men’s Captain for the Season Benny McManus, along with J2 Captain Philly Dardis are already driving standards in this regard.  Benny only took the role after being reassured that a strong set up would be in place to support the players.

The Leinster League has changed to a more condensed format this year with the league concluding in February before the cup starts instead of continuing on in between the cup into March.  Glenn remarked that he sees this as a better format and that it allows full focus on the League and then the Cup rather than trying to keep your eye on both competitions.  Longford have a challenging first match away to Tullow who are traditionally a strong proposition at home.  However, Longford came away from Black Gates with the points last year.

A lot of last years younger players like Ryan McHugh and Liam Harte will have gained great experience last season and will hopefully push on this year.  Along with a new contingent of the last years U18s who have been coming to Senior Training for this first time.  It is hoped that we will see them in bigger numbers as the season progresses.  Aaron Beirne and Kevin Rodgers also should make a welcome return to Longford colours.

How will Ireland do in the World Cup? Glenn feels that New Zealand are still the favourites inspite of their not to stellar form of late.  Glenn points out that New Zealand tend to sacrifice the Rugby Championship pre-World Cup and instead focus on being right for the competition.

Glenn feels it is difficult to know where Ireland are at and may have peaked a year too soon.  A ¼ Final against New Zealand or South Africa will also be a big ask, but should they reach the Semi-Finals all bets are off because any of this years Semi-Final could lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

Glenn and his wife Fiona with Ireland Coach Joe Schmidt

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